Which model of iPad for navigation purposes?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by lesleyag, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. lesleyag macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2011
    Cambridge, New Zealand
    Hi there, I know that this subject has probably been thrashed to bits but I would really and truly appreciate some good sound advice. I live in NZ and there are many areas where cellphone coverage drops out for quite long distances. My partner and I have just purchased an iPad Wi-Fi 32gb model and want to use it as a GPS unit in his large bus. None of the technical people I have spoken to today seem to know anything about which model we should have - iPad WiFi or iPad WiFi + 3G. A logical solution appears to be to buy a TomTom Car Kit with the Navigon Application, since it works on the iPad and an extender cable to connect the TomTom to the iPad but I am very unsure since I don't have any knowledge in this area. I would really appreciate if someone could give me a very clear and honest answer with some clear direction. Regards :)
  2. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    I don't have any knowledge/experience regarding the TomTom kit, but I do know that the iPad WiFi does not have a GPS chip. To get real GPS built in you have to buy the 3G model, even if you never use the cell service.
  3. MrWillie, Feb 20, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2011

    MrWillie macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2010
    Starlite Starbrite Trailer Court

    But it is cheaper to buy a TomTom

    TomTom kit is for iPod touch. There is a GPS unit in the holder and the data is sent to the iPod via (probably) the dock connector serial port.
  4. Kestrel452 macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2008
    Buy a wi-fi only iPad, jailbreak it, then download BTstack_GPS off of Cydia. I've used it a lot, and it works quite well. The bluetooth GPS receiver i use is made by US Global Sat.
  5. lesleyag thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2011
    Cambridge, New Zealand
    What happens to GPS if you are out of cell range

    So what happens to the navigation system if you go out of cellphone range? I am thinking that if there was a dedicated GPS unit which works with both the iPod and the iPad, then would that not give more flexibility? I don't know anything about jail-breaking and wouldn't dare give it a go since it is my partner who owns the iPad and not me!
  6. tersono macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2005
    If you want built-in GPS you need the 3g version. The wi-fi only version does not have the GPS chip.

    Some people have managed to use an external GPS unit with the wi-fi iPad, but it's messy - frankly you'd be better off just going and buying a TomTom instead.

    Going out of range for cellphone reception is not going to affect the GPS
  7. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    The GPS in the iPad 3G will still work when out of cellphone range (You need to buy a navigation app though that stores maps locally). From the posts above it sounds like the TomTom unit would work just as well except that I don't think it will physically fit an iPad.
  8. Richdmoore macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    Troutdale, OR
    2 other GPS units to consider are the Bad Elf GPS, and the MFI 5870.

    The advantage of these units is that they are apple certified (no jailbreak needed) and that they can be used with multiple ipod touch/iphone/ipad. I have tested both of them during commercial airline flights, they worked perfect when the built in GPS failed. They may be overkill for your environment however.



    Both include either a mini or micro usb, so you can charge the bluetooth (MFI) or power both the GPS and iDevice (Bad Elf).
  9. Xeperu macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2010
    Bringing an external GPS device on a plane might not be the smartest thing these days. Have fun explaining that to the air marshall.
  10. ZilogZ80 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 5, 2010
  11. Richdmoore macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    Troutdale, OR
    EDIT: Beat me to the list!

    A bit off topic, but here is the latest list I could find online of airlines that allow the use of GPS by passengers enroute.

    Note: These are reports from newsgroup users.

    Revised August 2010
    Please let me know of any errors or additions. Joe Mehaffey

    The Airlines which OFFICIALLY APPROVE the use of GPS receivers during CRUISE.

    Aer Lingus
    Air Canada
    Air China
    Air France
    Air New Zealand
    Air Malaysia
    Air Tanzania
    Alitalia (Italy)
    Braathens (owned by SAS) Norway
    British Airways
    Cathay Pacific
    CAAC (China Airlines, Mainland China)
    China Southern Airlines
    Continental Airlines (as of August 2007, changed AGAIN! 4th time!)
    Delta Airlines (as of May 2009, UNteathered HANDHELD GPS units only allowed.)
    DragonAir (China)
    EasyJet (Europe)
    Egypt Air
    FlyBe Airlines (UK)
    Jet Airways (India)
    JetBlue Airways (USA, Changed back to OK as of April 2007)
    KLM (Flight operations book under rule 120.8.5)
    LAN Airlines Argentina
    LOT Polish Airlines
    Maersk Air (Denmark)
    MidWest Express (USA)
    Nationwide Airlines (South Africa)
    NorthWest Airlines (Flight operations book under rule 120.8.5)
    Precision Air (Tanzania)
    Olympic Airlines (Greece)
    Qantas as of 3/2/2007 per Tania<websupport@qantas.com.au> (yep.. Changed AGAIN!)
    Singapore Air Lines
    SN Brussels Airlines (as of 11/25/03 per <KTeirbroodt@brusselsairlines.com>
    South African Airways
    SouthWest Airlines (Changed AGAIN as of January 2009.. This is THREE changes in since early 2008.)
    Sun Country (Regional USA)
    Swiss (Was Swissair and CrossAir)
    Tunis Air
    United Air Lines (may ask if your GPS is FCC Class B approved. All handhelds are. Show them in the manual.)
    Vanguard Airlines
    WestJet Airlines (Canada)

    Airlines which OFFICIALLY DO NOT APPROVE the use of GPS receivers at ANY time during flight.

    (*) Individual Pilots may allow GPS use.

    Alaska Airlines
    Air Tran
    America West Airlines
    American Airlines (Changed again as of October 2009)
    Britannia Airlines
    El Al Airlines (Israel)
    Frontier Airlines (as of June 2008)
    Hawaiian Airlines(*)
    Horizon Airlines(*)
    Iberia Airlines(*)
    Lufthansa Airlines
    Mexicana airlines
    Midway Express
    Monarch Airlines
    Ryanair (Irish) (as of January 2008)
    Spirit Airlines
    US Airways (was US Air) (as of December 2007)
    Varig Airlines
    Virgin Airlines (As of March 2007)
  12. phpmaven macrumors 68040


    Jun 12, 2009
    San Clemente, CA USA
    Did I miss something? What does taking a GPS unit on a plane have to do with his question?

    In use my iPad as a GPS in my car and it works great with the huge screen. While it's true that the GPS chip will continue to function when out of range of cell signal, not every GPS app will work in that scenario. You have to have one that doesn't download it's map data on the fly. There are a few different choices that qualify. I use Navigon and I highly recommend it.

    Obviously you're better off with dedicated GPS unit if that all you need. But it seems that you bought the iPad already so why not multi-purpose it.
  13. Gryzor macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2010
    Wrong. The WiFi only iPad DOES have a GPS chip inside. At home, with WiFi off, the iPad knows roughly where I am on the map. If I drive to my cousins who over 3 miles away, still with WiFi off, and check my location on the map again, it changes my location to roughly where his house is. It isn't very accurate or fast at tracking you when you are moving, but the chip is definitely on-board the WiFi only model, if not hooked up properly.

    It's sometimes cheaper/easier to produce one board and just not use a component than produce two entirely different boards. You should all know that by now.
  14. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    There was a thread about this a month or two ago. Eventually we broke out the high resolution photos and chip analysis from iFixit. The GPS chip is on the same extra plug-in board as the 3G radios, and that board is not present in the WiFi model. The fact that it isn't very accurate or fast at tracking pretty much proves that you aren't using GPS, the logical conclusion here is that when you asked it to locate it powered on the WiFi radio.
  15. Gryzor macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2010
    WiFi was switched off when I left my house and left off when I got to his house, yet maps updated with my position. It also tracks (ish) position down country roads in the middle of nowhere with no WiFi signals to be picked up. Explain that.
  16. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009

    See the secondary communications board a bit down the page? It contains a "Broadcom A-GPS BCM47501UBG" GPS. Also the GPS antenna assembly. If you check their teardown for the iPad WiFi they won't be present.

    Regarding your observations, they are a bit strange, but I don't see how they can stack up against the physical lack of a GPS chip and antenna, plus the behavior still doesn't match up with true GPS. One thing that might explain it is that the triangulation tech does not need a signal strong enough to transfer data, just to receive the MAC address of the broadcasting basestation. It's very possible that you were close enough to WiFi signals to track but not close enough for them to show up as workable signals when you searched for networks.
  17. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    There's no GPS chip on the WiFi only model.

    So either you were in airplane mode, but with WiFi still on (but you thought airplane mode turned it off)...

    Or some developer at Apple secretly turns on WiFi in a receive-only mode on the iPad if you ask for location services.

    The latter would also require the surrounding WiFi MAC addressses/locations to be cached though, because otherwise it would have to go ask the Apple server what location corresponded to each hotspot, and that would require WiFi transmissions as well.

Share This Page