GPS possible on droid without 3G service?

Discussion in 'Android Tech Support' started by redss, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. redss
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    redss New Member

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    Is it possible to use the GPS feature of a Droid without subscribing to the 3G service?
    I get "your current location is temporarily unavailable" in maps/navigation even while connected to wifi.

    If it is possible, what app can I see my location in?
  2. A.Brooks
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    A.Brooks Member

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    I was using my GPS all the way down the highway yesterday even without signal, I'm not sure if this is what you're talking about, but GPS is totally different than your cell phone signal.
  3. ktranger
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    ktranger New Member

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    I use my GPS just fine with no 3g service on the Verizon "Extended Network" and also when I have no cell service. Migh want to check your Location & Security settings ... make sure "Use GPS Sat.." is selected.

    Ralph
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
  4. hookbill
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    hookbill Premium Member Premium Member

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    :welcome: to the Droid Forums. GPS needs to be able to locate you in order to for you to have navigation. What do you mean by "without subscribing to the 3G service?" Do you not have service set up with Verizon? If not no, it won't work.
  5. EtherGnat
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    EtherGnat New Member

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    I'm not sure if this is what the OP was asking about, but I have a similar question.

    Google maps does require a data connection. There are times I'd love to be able to have at least basic GPS available while not connected to a cellular network. In particular there have been a few times while flying I thought it would be fun to be able to see basically where I am in the US, speed, and so forth.
  6. JP 5.56
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    JP 5.56 New Member

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    Any GPS app that does not require an internet connection to download map data will work with out having 3G coverage (IE out of service area, or in airplane mode)

    For instance if you download GPS Status/Radar, you do not need any sort of data connection whatsoever to use the radar screen, get your lat/lon and compass.
  7. EtherGnat
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    EtherGnat New Member

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    Hmm. I thought I had tried "GPS Status" on my last trip and it didn't work, but I may well be mistaken. I'll give it another try. Is there a free app that at least has a basic outline of US states (major roads a bonus)? Are there any paid standalone GPS apps worth noting?
  8. tommyz
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    tommyz Member

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    I put my phone into Airplane mode and the GPS wasn't able to get a fix. I think it does need some type of cell service to get started.

    I was thinking about using it for GeoCaching where there is no cell service, but I don't think this is possible.
  9. ohioDroid
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    ohioDroid New Member

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    If I put my Droid in airplane mode, which disables all cell phone, 3G, similar communication, I can still use the GPS.

    If I try using Maps, obviously it can't download a map, BUT if I use google MyTracks, it still will accurately track my location without issue.
  10. redss
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    redss New Member

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    I installed the MyTracks app, and still no luck whatsoever. Locations & Security -> Use GPS satellites IS checked.

    Could be that the GPS radio in my Droid is bad but I doubt it. Googling tells me that people are split between those who think GPS requires active cell service, and those who think that no service other than maybe wifi (which I have) is required.

    So a good test would probably be to switch to airplane mode, then drive down the street and see if the GPS can track you.

    But the best test would be to see if that works when you have not activated it with Verizon.

    Has anybody tried either firsthand?
  11. EtherGnat
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    EtherGnat New Member

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    GPS Status worked fine for me in flight mode. MyTracks appears to use Google Maps and thus require a data connection. I'd still love to find something with at least basic maps for use while flying; latitude and longitude don't mean much to me.
  12. ezekiel2000
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    ezekiel2000 New Member

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  13. EtherGnat
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    EtherGnat New Member

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    Do you have a link for that app? Maybe I'm dumb but I'm having trouble finding it.
  14. Slider46
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    Slider46 New Member

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    Kinda pertains to the topic but I noticed that Google Navigation won't work without a data connection. I'm guessing it needs the data connection to download the map data, otherwise it would have to be cached on the phone - which takes a lot of space.

    I'd assume that any other GPS app would just need GPS to track you on a map if the app included a map or multiple maps.
  15. ezekiel2000
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    ezekiel2000 New Member

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    That does pertain to the topic and is what these apps are for, caching maps and using them with the GPS when data connection is not or might not be available. The two main apps I see being discussed in the other thread are:
    MapDroyd
    [​IMG]

    and
    OruxMaps
    [​IMG]

    I honestly haven't had the need for either yet, but from a quick glance at both, it seems Orux is the more refined of the two.
  16. Slider46
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    Slider46 New Member

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    Thanks for the apps :)
  17. charles16214
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    charles16214 New Member

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    Yes, it is possible to get a location fix, without 3G service. Go to location & security settings & enable use wireless networks. Tried it on my spare Droid, not registered with Verizon, and was able to get a location fix with no 3g service. To use the sat location service on maps, requires a clear view of the sky. GPS radio is low pwr, so it does not take much to block signal.
  18. keiichi25
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    keiichi25 New Member

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    Something to point out here that I think a few of you are missing...

    GPS, in and of itself, does not require a phone service. It uses the satellites in orbit to determine your location. All you need is a clear, unobstructed view of the sky for it to work properly.

    The GPS the Droid uses is a combination of using Cell towers as well as GPS satellites. The Cell tower approximation is a rough guestimate, but 10m accuracy comes from the standard GPS.

    Google Maps requires a Data Connection because of the design of the application. It downloads the map information directly and works with the GPS radio to determine your current position on map.

    Other GPS based apps, depending on how they are designed, will either make use of or not use of the Data Connection. Generic GPS apps, like telling you coordinate information or compass information will NOT require a data connection, as it is purely reading from the basic GPS, like a hand-held GPS device does.
  19. twowheels
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    twowheels New Member

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    This thread is very interesting to me (and timely!) because I just did a lot of research to find a good solar charger to use my droid while away from civilization for a few days at at time. I wanted to be able to use something like MyTracks or Endomoto to keep track of where I've been in case I lose the trail and have to backtrack. Unfortunately I think I've got some bad news...

    keiichi25: What you say sounds true... but doesn't match my testing.

    If I set my phone to airplane mode (no CDMA nor 3G connection) and then start up MyTracks it cannot get a GPS position. I wait and wait, and the indicator keeps flashing. Endomoto has the same behavior, and their status bar says that it's searching for satellites. It never seems to find the GPS.

    If I start the program with airplane mode turned off, get the GPS fix, then turn on airplane mode I get a position and can continue to track my location w/ no problem as long as I don't lose the sync.

    The problem appears to be that you must have a cellular connection to get an initial location used to lock the satellites. If you don't have that you won't ever get a GPS lock. This makes the droid useless as a general purpose GPS device for hiking because if I ever lose my lock I no longer have the ability to use it to find my way back. This is bad news.

    It's POSSIBLE that airplane mode does something that prevents the GPS from working, but if it's already in use doesn't disable it, so my test MIGHT be invalid. I'd have to go somewhere with no service to check that, but I'm not sure where I could go nearby to find out.
  20. tommyz
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    tommyz Member

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    The funny but good thing is, that is almost impossible to do with Verizon Wireless. And even if Verizon isn't there another services CDMA might work for you.

    So, Your job is to head deep into the mountains this weekend and give it a try.:D
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