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Thread: Can you use Google maps without cell service?

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    bladerunn3r's Avatar
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    #1

    Can you use Google maps without cell service?

    I know android phones have a separate GPS chip inside, so it is possible to use gps navigation apps. However, I read that google maps will not run if you don't have cell service (a pop up that informs you that you need service). Can you get past this if you have the local maps downloaded and saved already on the app? I know that you can use other navigators such as "Backcountry navigation." It's just I would prefer to use google maps vs. backcountry or Waze. I just want to know if it's possible to use google maps for navigation without cell coverage; I know that even if you CAN, its "reliability" will be dependent on exchange between the GPS and phone.

    Actually, I ask for my dad. I gave him my old phone (droid x) which he doesn't want to pay data for. So he is using it as a PDA primarily, though he would love to use it for navigation as well. Thanks!
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    #2
    This may not be much help, but I was just looking at an ariticle from Backcountry Navigator which states that you do not need cell service, although your carrier would like you to think it does. It will need a clear view of the sky in order to find the satellites. As you stated, you need to have the local maps downloaded to your phone and Backcountry Navigator is just one of those apps.

    Here's a link to that article if you're interested.

    Using the Android GPS
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    #3
    You won't be able to get a GPS lock without cell service. For some reason the GPS needs a cell signal to get a lock on your position.
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by macpro88 View Post
    You won't be able to get a GPS lock without cell service. For some reason the GPS needs a cell signal to get a lock on your position.
    I thought it was the data service that was needed because I have a cheapo tablet that has GPS and can get a lock but can't do navigation without having data.
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by MrSmith317 View Post
    I thought it was the data service that was needed because I have a cheapo tablet that has GPS and can get a lock but can't do navigation without having data.
    You could be right, might be data service that you need, i ran into this issue a while back, but I had NO service what so ever and I could not use navigation and maps would not load at all cause I didn't have data at all... only had this one time though so not sure if it might half work on 1X?
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    #6
    I knew I remembered seeing this topic before on another phone(OG Droid)

    Google Navigation works fine without internet connection
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by MrSmith317 View Post
    I knew I remembered seeing this topic before on another phone(OG Droid)

    Google Navigation works fine without internet connection
    Interesting, so it seems that you initially need a data connection to get a lock and then if you loose data after a few mins and you are still locked in the GPS you should still be fine? That's what I take from that and the fact I couldn't get navi to work before without data (didn't have any data when trying to get a lock).
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    #8
    Yeah, your GPS is a sensor that is completely independent from your cell service. You can augment it with other stuff that uses cell tower signals, but the GPS itself is something that is part of your phone's hardware. I still had it even when Verizon cut off my service.

    Back in the day you used to not be able to use google maps at all if you did not have a data connection, but they changed that. You should be able to cache maps ahead of time now if you are going hiking or whatever. All google navigation requires is GPS and a data connection for google maps 9unless you have the maps cached I assume).
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    #9
    The downside with Google Maps is that you can only cache a 10 mile radius of data at a time right now. So it can take a while if you want to cache a large area. There are other navigation products out there that store all the map data on the phone though (like Navigon), so you could always purchase one of those and you'd be fine.
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    #10
    I tried to do this on my Galaxy Tab 2 (wifi only). I cached my whole county from the wifi and when i left home, I tried to use navigation. I could see my position moving on the map. but when I tried to use Navigation (turn by turn ) it just kept "trying to connect" or something.
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