iPhone GPS Abroad

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Aperture, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. Aperture macrumors 68000


    Mar 19, 2006
    I'm going to be visiting Europe for a week in July but don't want to incur any crazy data roaming charges... I looked on the App Store and I can buy offline maps for the countries I will be visiting. The maps are proprietary and are not tied to Google Maps. These types of apps tend to also let you use the GPS to find your location.

    Even if the maps are offline, will I be charged any data fees for using the GPS?
  2. cualexander macrumors 6502a

    Apr 3, 2006
    Charlotte, NC
    GPS by itself does not use the cellular data. It uses positioning data from satellites that is free data available to anyone.
  3. The General macrumors 601

    Jul 7, 2006
    I'm pretty sure the GPS requires cell tower data.

    I have never been able to get it to work with no service.
  4. cualexander macrumors 6502a

    Apr 3, 2006
    Charlotte, NC
    But have you been trying to use it in Google maps? Google maps requires cell data. GPS chips themselves require no cellular data otherwise Garmin GPS navigation units would require contracts. Unless the iPhone has a special GPS chip that does that I'm not aware of. I mean I know that it uses cell towers to assist it with location, but technically it should be able to find your location without the assistance. Unfortunately, my 3G is broken so I am unable to test this at the moment.

    UPDATE: See this link: http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2008/10/using-the-iphones-gps-without-a-network-connection.ars
  5. stylinexpat macrumors 65816


    Mar 6, 2009
    Never buy a locked phone. If your phone is unlocked then just buy a local sim card when you arrive unless you are headed to Korea or Japan:eek:

    Most European countries offer SIM cards for those traveling. GPS works well but I have found that our GPS is not that accurate.
  6. Ill Mitch macrumors member

    Ill Mitch

    Jan 15, 2007
    Toronto, Canada

    There's an app you can get called Offmaps which is exactly what your looking for, there's no cellular signal needed it just uses the GPS, I think it's around $1.99 on the app store.

    A friend of mine who found an iPhone 3g is using it because he doesn't have a data plan. :)
  7. BNZ1 macrumors regular

    Nov 11, 2008
    Yes and No - iPhone uses A-GPS (assisted GPS) which means your phone cheats by using data and cell towers to assist itself in finding your location and the correct satellites fast. Most GPS devices take 20sec-2 minutes to get a lock, with A-GPS you have an approximate location almost instantly.

    When you travel abroad and put your phone on Airplane Mode your phone will try and connect to data in the new country to speed up the location process, Yes the GPS itself will get a lock (After a few minutes) without using data but Maps has been set to time out before this. There are 2 solutions to using GPS abroad. Either connect to data (wifi/data roaming) and use something like maps to find your location (this only takes a few seconds then you can turn data roaming back off - should only cost a few cents on roaming) or use an app that has no time out and will keep searching for satellites the good old fashioned way (slow the first time only). Once you have found your location once in the new country then you can use something like OffMaps for free :)

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