iPhone not a standalone GPS device!

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by akadmon, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. akadmon macrumors 68020

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    New England
    #1
    So I'm going to Europe for a few weeks and was hoping to use my iPhone to find my way around and geotagging my photos. However, it turns out that any iPhone app that does GPS (Maps, PlaceTagger, MotionX) requires the iPhone to be on some kind of a network connection in order to work. What's up with that? My Garmin communicates directly with the GPS satellites, so why does the frogging iPhone need to access a data network? I'm so bummed about this :mad: At $5.00 per MB, I'd be a thousand dollars in debt to ATT by the time I got back home! :eek:
     
  2. gloss macrumors 601

    gloss

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    #2
    The current GPS apps available in the US need to download map data over the cellular network. The upcoming TomTom app and the existing Navigon app store maps locally, and so don't need a cellular connection.

    Navigon has European Coverage, so that might be what you're looking for.
     
  3. JBaker122586 macrumors 65816

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    Jun 21, 2007
    #3
    It needs the data to load the maps... not to figure out where you are.
    It can figure out your lat/long just fine, but to figure out what that means, it needs to download a map. Your Garmin comes with gigabytes worth of maps loaded onto it.

    There are several apps with downloadable maps of Europe in the App Store right now. Check out Navigon.

    Also, your photos will still geo-tag.
     
  4. netslacker macrumors 6502

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    #4
    None of those apps you mentioned have all the maps on the phone already. So, via the data network, it downloads the maps it needs - as it needs them.

    MotionX GPS does have a caching mechanism that you can cache the non-google maps with (up to 250mb worth) but you have to pre-navigate everywhere you will be so that the app can download the maps to the local cache.

    Your iPhone also communicates (receives) the GPS signal directly from satellites, but unlike a true GPS device it does not store all the maps locally. Hence, the data network is required on most of these types of apps.
     
  5. OrangesOfCourse macrumors member

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    Feb 29, 2008
    #5
    I believe its because the iPhone has A-GPS (without standalone GPS) and has to contact the assistance server for information. The Garmin has standalone GPS so it can directly communicate with satellites.
     
  6. CrownSeven macrumors member

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    Aug 14, 2008
    #6
    Wrong.

    A-GPS or ASSISTED GPS just means that it can ALSO leverage cell phone towers to increase the speed and accuracy of your position IN ADDITION to standard GPS.

    No cell phone network nearby? Then it just switches back to good old GPS.
     
  7. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

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    #7
    Please look up the facts. This is completely untrue. The assisted part is the wifi and cell tower enhancing triangulation. A-GPS is more accurate than regular GPS because of this.
     
  8. akadmon thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #8
    I want to geotag photos I take on my Cannon, so no, my photos (the ones I really want, not the crappy iPhone snapshots) will not get tagged.

    The PlaceTagger app I have works great for this (you open the photos on a computer, then sync with the iPhone while PlaceTagger is open and viola, your photos get geotagged!), but it won't work without a network connection, because it wants to show me a map. I tried this by turning on Airplane Mode. I don't need to see the map -- all I want is for my coordinates to be recorded!

    OK, so why couldn't Apple put the maps on the phone? I'd be happy to sacrifice a couple of GBs for the ability to do GPS without being on a network.
     
  9. za9ra22 macrumors 6502

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    Sep 25, 2003
    #9
    Firstly because they wouldn't know which maps were needed. Secondly, because then everyone would have to pay for maps when only a small proportion of users need or want them.

    Apple provide the hardware, you have the option to add the software for the functionality you require.
     
  10. mrkgoo macrumors 65816

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    Aug 18, 2005
    #10
    It would probably be more than a couple gigabytes for the whole world. just the US alone is a couple of gigs, judging by some apps out there. And if they just put local maps, that wouldn't help you for your overseas trips, right?Thing is, not everyone is willing to sacrifice a good portion of their storage for built in maps. If you are, then "there's an app for that".

    Basically, it's not really apple's responsibility to provide full navigation software.
     
  11. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #11
    Sounds like a great feature request for the next version of PlaceTagger. Nobody required the author of that program to pull down map data just to record your current coordinates.

    Because besides the space (and the fact that not everyone would want to give up 50% of their iPhone capacity for maps), they'd have to license the map data, which isn't cheap.
     
  12. macdim macrumors 6502

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    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #12
    You have an iPhone 3G. Jailbreak and unlock that SOB and get a local SIM once you're there on PAYG. Depending on where you're going, I think it might be feasible. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  13. OrangesOfCourse macrumors member

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    #13
    A typical A-GPS-enabled cell phone will use a data connection (internet, or other) to contact the assistance server or a standard network connection for A-GPS information. If it also has functioning autonomous or standalone GPS, it may use standard GPS, which is sometimes slower on Time To First Fix, but does not lead to network dependent downsides, such as failure to work outside of network range, or charges for data traffic.[3] Some A-GPS solutions do not have the option of falling back to standalone or autonomous GPS.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assisted_GPS
     
  14. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #14

    GPS receivers need to know where the satellites are currently located in the sky so they can find them and lock on to a signal, as the sats are in orbit and move around. A regular GPS unit will have to look for them when it's first turned on and it will take a few minutes to get signal lock. aGPS can use the cellular data network to download the current location of the GPS satellites so it can lock on in just a couple seconds. Without the data connection, an aGPS phone will still work, it will just take a bit longer for it to find your location. The iPhone GPS chip is aGPS, but it will work just fine without a data connection. I've used the GPS in mine while in Europe with no data connection and the GPS was able to locate me just fine in a couple of apps I used.
     
  15. -aggie- macrumors P6

    -aggie-

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    #15
    Are you serious? It's a phone, not a GPS-only device. Each country requires GB's of data for the maps, and how would Apple even know which country you might need. Not to mention, how much each of these maps cost. Do you have a stand-alone GPS device like Garmin or Tom Tom? If you do, then you'd know just how difficult it would be to do what you ask.
     
  16. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

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    Washington DC
    #16
    Ha ha, yeah, I'm sure most iPhone users would LOVE to lose most of their storage space to maps. That would be super-popular.
     
  17. akadmon thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #17
    The iPhone photos get geotagged because they reside on the iPhone.

    So you're telling me that the cost of accessing Google's maps is not rolled into the price of the data plan? I don't believe that. Why would Google give this away?
     
  18. akadmon thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #18
    Personally, I'd be willing to give up instant access to my Michael Jackson catalogue (that is if I had it -- sorry, not a big fan of MJ) to be able to do GPS anytime, anyplace. I have all the songs I care to listen to on my iPhone, almost all of my 11 screens are filled with apps, and I still have enough space left on my measly 16GB unit to load maps of US, Canada, and half of Europe.
     
  19. gloss macrumors 601

    gloss

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    #19
    Google's Maps are free. They are also specifically not permitted to be used for turn-by-turn navigation purposes.

    Get Navigon if you're headed to Europe, otherwise wait for TomTom or Navigon US to release.
     
  20. aristobrat macrumors G5

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    Oct 14, 2005
    #20
    I think the part you're not understanding is that GPS coordinates (the latitude and longitude of a location) and maps are two totally independent features.

    The iPhone needs no "data plan" to figure out the GPS coordinates of where you are at.

    The only time a "data plan" is required is to show you on a MAP where you are at.

    There are plenty of iPhone apps that will record your GPS coordinates without having to connect and pull down a map, so there's no reason whoever wrote the program you're using can't have a preference that disables the map part for people like you (roaming).

    The cost of access Google's maps via a "data plan" is free. The cost of putting maps on a device's internal storage is not free. For example, virtually any "standalone" GPS you buy in the US will not contain maps for Europe. If you want to add those to its storage, they're typically not cheap to buy.
     
  21. PoitNarf macrumors 65816

    PoitNarf

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    #21
    Try using a different photo tagging app that doesn't load a map at all and just logs the raw GPS coordinates along with the date and time.
     
  22. akadmon thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #22
    I already have a portable Garmin unit (the 680) with maps of Europe on it, but it's pretty much useless for walking around town, because it can't hold the charge for more than 1 hour.

    I'd appreciate if someone could point me to an app that will do geotagging without needing a network connection. That is all I really need. I've given up on city maps (hey, there is always the paper ones :rolleyes:).
     
  23. gloss macrumors 601

    gloss

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    #23
    You don't need any sort of connection to GeoTag. It just gets your GPS coordinates and you're good to go. No maps involved.
     
  24. akadmon thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #24
    I know that, but this is true only of the photos taken by the iPhone.
     
  25. gloss macrumors 601

    gloss

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    #25
    And you want an iPhone app to GeoTag photos from a camera?

    How about just use one of these?
     

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