using GPS while travelling

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by fredf, Sep 25, 2009.

  1. fredf macrumors 6502

    Oct 31, 2008
    simple (and sorry, dumb) question:
    I know the GPS on the 3GS does not require data when travelling.
    But, how does it place you on a map? The Maps app (ie: google maps) requires data, doesn't it?
    So, if I am in Italy and want to find myself using the GPS, what map is my iPhone going to place me on if I have data roaming turned off?

  2. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    It won't place you on anything if you're using Google Maps since it won't be able to download the map with data roaming off.
  3. PhightinPhils26 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 12, 2007
    Well, that depends on what GPS app you are using. The GPS in the iPhone is actually an 'aGPS' and the A means Assisted. So if for instance if you are home and you open up Google Maps the aGPS uses the cell towers first to triangulate your approximate location (thats the assisted part) so the GPS can get a quicker lock on your location.

    From there obviously Google Maps needs data to download your map.

    I would assume that if you download an international version of a GPS app that includes map data (Navigon, TomTom) you wont need the data roaming to download the map and the GPS SHOULD be able to work. I have never personally tried this maybe someone who has can chime in a confirm or deny.
  4. fredf thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 31, 2008
    What you both said confirms what I was thinking. While you don't need data for the GPS to work, it is useless without a map that is resident on the phone. So there is no point using the GPS if you haven't purchased some local offline map first.
  5. Ntombi macrumors 68040


    Jul 1, 2008
    Bostonian exiled in SoCal
    The cell tower thing (the "A" in aGPS) just helps the GPS locate you more quickly; it's not required for the GPS to work.

    Cellular data is required for the Google maps app, not for any of the larger GPS apps. Their size is because they include the maps for the areas they cover. If you have Navigon North America, for instance, that won't help you in Europe.

    So, yes, I would look into buying a local map for the iPhone, or just renting a GPS while you're on your trip.
  6. yellowwheels macrumors newbie


    Aug 26, 2009
    If you want proper navigation and you are in Italy you'll need the Western Europe edition of Tomtom app, or other brand. The Tomtom WE is a whopping 1.45 GB download, which when uncompressed and installed on your iPhone swells to over 3GB. So all the map info you could want is ready and waiting without paying the exorbitant foreign roaming data charges. Google maps needs to download data so won't help you.

    here's my review of it
    Western Europe Tomtom review
  7. vr4playa macrumors member

    May 19, 2008
    Does the TomTom work for a 3G running 3.0(7A341) and also I am using a computer that does not have iTunes installed(waiting on a new adapter for my MB :() and cannot check the price for the TT Western Europe edition, how much is it?

    I am in the same boat, where I would like to have a nice handheld GPS for the 3 days I will be in Venice(during a 12 day trip to Sofia, BG to visit family/friends) and thus will not need the car kit. On top of that, I currently have about 3.5GB free on my 8GB 3G so space won't be an issue, although I had to take out a lot of songs(most were "filler") and podcasts(really wish I would've shelled out for the 16GB as I've got about 8GB worth of these that I'd love to have for the trip ;)) to get down that low...
  8. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Use an app that has maps built in.

    Or use the compass app (or other GPS apps for non 3GS devices) for the GPS lat/lon coordinates and then look for that location on a paper map.
  9. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    Yeah as others are said just buy one that doesn't need data and your good to go. I am a fan of the navigon they just keeping adding features and making it better and better. I can't comment on the maps they have vs tomtoms for europe. In north america they are great though.
  10. Clete2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 20, 2008
    I agree. I've heard a lot of good things about Navigon and how it's better than Tom Tom's app.

    Also, since I have personally tested the GPS without service, let me add this.

    When you're using GPS only, it can take a few minutes to actually locate you initially. It can be dreadful. If you're going to be using it in the car a lot, look into buying Navigon and seeing if the Tom Tom car adapter will also aid the GPS if you're not using Tom Tom's app. I know that the adapter assists in GPS location, but I'm not sure if it is supported in Navigon. Look into that one.
  11. JoshGlzBrk macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2009
    To the OP: Although you're correct that the GPS doesn't require a data connection to work, you need to have the data connection to actually download the maps.

    And even if you don't have the maps in the cache, it will still plot your dot where you are, you just won't know where that's lol.

    And it's not uncommon to drive into lakes, as it happens to me almost every day lol :p
  12. fredf thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 31, 2008
    since the original posting, i have learned a lot about GPS programs etc on the iPhone.

    I ended up using MotionX GPS on a holiday in Italy with very mixed results.

    The 'maps on the iPhone' GPS programs like Navigon are really aimed at cars and I wanted something for cycling that might show dirt paths, etc that I assume Navigon does not show.

    However, these programs use OpenStreets stuff which is not very good (at least in my experience in Italy). And downloading all the tiles (at least in MotionX GPS Sport) is time consuming and uneven. Certainly MotionX doesn't do anything to help the user do this!

    If anyone knows of a program that has downloadable maps that would include bike paths, please let me know.
  13. davehutch macrumors 6502a


    Mar 5, 2009
    Croxley, Herts
    According to OffMaps, their next release might allow downloading of OpenCycleMap data for use abroad and away from data coverage etc.

    "We are expecting/hoping that OpenCycleMaps will be included in the next update, but unfortunately I can not confirm this at this point and time."

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