GPS Without Wifi

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I have a Samsung Galaxy Ace phone. I don't have a data plan and I'm on the base $15 a month prepaid plan.

I've been told by the Koodo rep at my local mall kiosk that the GPS feature isn't supposed to work without access to wifi or a data plan but it seems like it does. I can be driving somewhere and have it on and the blue arrow seems to follow my location fairly accurately. Or I can put in an address and it will give me directions and show my location as a move towards my destination.

The reason I'm asking about this is because I can't get my parents phone to work like mine does. It's the same phone and they're on the same plan. Can anyone explain what's goin' on?

I'm not sure why it shouldn't work considering the $100 Garmin GPS device I bought from my local FutureShop works without a data plan or wifi.
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KeithB

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Posted 5 years ago

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Ivan, Mobile Master

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The phone has a GPS receiver and no data is required for that to work.

However, on that particular phone (and with the bundled Google Maps/Navigation app), a data connection is required for map and navigation data.

The fact that it "works" for you is probably due to you entering your desired location while you are on WiFi and then your phone has certain map parts saved temporarily. Try to change your destination at this point and it will not work.

You can purchase an app that allows you to use your phone's GPS without a data connection. I use CoPilot (https://play.google.com/store/apps/de...). It cost me $15 for USA/Canada.
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KeithB

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I usually do set the destination while i'm still at home so that might explain it. I have my Garmin GPS so buyin' a mappin' app isn't really necessary but I appreciate the suggestion. I was just curious why my phone worked while my parents didn't. Thanks.
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Xavier

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I am sorry Ivan, but GPS is basically a satellite based positioning system that is designed to calculate geographic coordinates based on timing information received from multiple satellites in the GPS constellation. GPS has a relatively slow time to first fix (TTFF), and from a cold start (meaning without a last known position), it can take up to 15 minutes to download the data it needs from the satellites to calculate a position. A-GPS used by cellular networks shortens this time by using the cellular network to deliver the satellite data to the phone.

But regardless of whether it is an A-GPS or GPS location, all that is derived is Geographic Coordinates (latitude/longitude). It is impossible to obtain more from GPS only.

To be able to return anything other than coordinates (such as an address), you need some mechanism to do the Reverse Geocoding. Typically this is done by querying a server or a web service like using Google Maps. You are using Google Maps offline mode which is the clevest thing to do. As long as you do set your destination before leaving. Your phone will only use GPS to determine location (Latitute/Longitude) and then your google maps offline mode will show you that on the screen of your phone.

I hope this is a better explanation for you Keith.
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Ivan, Mobile Master

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This isn't contrary to what I've said. And if anything, you've confused Keith. See below.
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Xavier

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Ivan, as
quasarito said Google offers offline maps.

What I said was, GPS does not use data, but GPS with android will not work unless data is present or offline maps have been saved.

Keith was going that already but he just asked for the explanation.

haha I recommend you to try offline maps with google, you will be amazed :O
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KeithB

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Thanks Xavier for this very thorough explanation. So as long as I set my destination from a WiFi zone it will be able to follow me as I go and get me to my destination. Good to know.
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Ivan, Mobile Master

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No. It will not be able to recalculate your route should you deviate.
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quasarito

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Google Maps offers offline capabilities now:
https://support.google.com/gmm/answer...
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Ivan, Mobile Master

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It's only for a smaller areas and offers no route recalculation for voice guidance.
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Xavier

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You can download countries even :p
Quasarito thanks for the link. I found this as well.
https://support.google.com/gmm/answer...
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Jonathan I, Mobile Master

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Here maps for Windows Phone is the killer app of the platform. Offline GPS and navigation. Just download the world region you wish to have onto your phone and voila. It's totally free, too.

Ivan, I'm interested in that CoPilot app as I don't have a GPS but I do use my Androids for looking at maps but I would like to avoid eating up data unnecessarily.

Or... I could carry around my Lumia 520 in my car lol but I like using my HTC One's larger screen...
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Steve

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It's an awesome feature. I rarely get lost but be darned if I could find the address I was looking for recently so I just turned on my data, hit Google voice search and said "navigate to this address" and it was magical. Still, does anyone have a relative idea of how much data this uses?
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Myke

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You'll just have to gauge it yourself, maybe look at the data use apps tracker in the phone.

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