GPS doesn't work outside the country

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  1. garybeck

    garybeck Well-Known Member

    I was in Haiti a few months ago. I had wifi so Google Maps could download the local maps. but when I tried to get a GPS signal it went nuts. It thought I was in Florida.

    Is there a GPS app or system that works out of the country?

    Also, I was flying on an airlplane recently and I checked the fine print on the flight magazine and GPS was permitted in flight. However when I tried to get a GPS signal it was very poor.

    Is there a good way to use GPS when on an airplane? I was just trying Google Maps.


  2. Did you have 'roaming' on?

    GPS works everywhere on the planet (except maybe close to the poles).

    However, when the GPS system has established your position, your phone has to connect to the network to get (= download) the appropriate map tiles and other map data to display on your screen. If the phone can't connect (properly) to the Google Maps database and the GPS database* you get incorrect results on your screen, although the GPS works flawlessly.

    *The GPS system and database are owned and 'managed' by the US' Department of Defense. The Pentagon. Which is why e.g. turn-by-turn navigation does not work in certain 'strategic areas' like Iran, and large parts of the Middle East. They, the US military, can switch GPS off or on at will for any part of the world or consciously degrade the quality and/or resolution of the data. And they do it all the time!
    It is low-level cyber warfare. But cyber warfare nevertheless!

    I don't know, TBH, but it could be due to you, in the plane, being enclosed by metal or other signal distorting materials. Afaik GPS signals are very weak and can fairly easily be distorted or blocked by the local situation.

    When checking the app 'GPS status' on the move in a car I consistently receive more and stronger GPS satellite signals when I hold the phone (= GPS receiver) close to the window than when I hold it in the middle of the car (backseat) close to the roof. From that latter position it (the GPS receiver in it) can't 'see' as much of the unobstructed sky as it can near the window.
  3. garybeck

    garybeck Well-Known Member

    I did not have roaming on. where is this setting?

    Is there a GPS program that works without an internet connection? Or one that allows me to download the map tiles before I travel? Google Maps drives me NUTS, even when I'm in the US, as soon as I lose my internet connection I have no map. the GPS shows me sitting on an empty map. useless.

    I paid for Sygic and downloaded the US maps and it works great without internet, but it's made for cars, and it doesn't seem to have Haiti as a map to download.
  4. Well, that explains it then.

    Settings > More... > Mobile networks > Roaming.

    However, that is expensive!

    Haven't tested it myself, but I understand that Google Maps/Google Navigation, Waze, and other navigation apps can do that when you plan (program) your route and actually trace the whole route on your screen while still on WiFi. That's when it downloads all the map tiles and data into your phone's cache memory. If you then leave that WiFi 'bubble' and go on your way it should all work as advertised on your device's screen. Even allowing for detours if not too drastic. The turn-by-turn voice assistance, however, only works with a live, mobile connection.
  5. garybeck

    garybeck Well-Known Member

    why do I need roaming? I don't want 3G when I'm down there. I don't need to talk on the phone and I don't want to pay for extra service. I just want wifi and gps to work. I'm not sure why I would need roaming?

    the Google Maps is not acceptable. I don't know my route and I can't cache the tiles. I just want to be able to turn on the GPS and see where I am.

    I'd like to be able to download the whole country I'm going to beforehand and then not have to worry about finding wifi or internet once I get down there. I wish Google had real download/save of maps instead of this nebulous caching and you never know exactly what you have until your map disappears.
  6. Without it you don't get online maps or data while outside WiFi. Your choice.

    Without it you don't get online maps or data while outside WiFi. Your choice.

    Huh? Please rephrase.

    Outside WiFi you can't without a mobile network. Which across the border means roaming.

    Google Maps > Menu > Offline

    Of course that gives you maps, not navigation!
  7. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor Guide

    1. As previously mentioned, GPS works everywhere.

    2. You need internet for the device to connect quickly. Otherwise it can take hours before it finds your position. A phone does not have the same power chips as dedicated devices, so it needs internet to aid its positioning. It starts checking the last satellites it was connected to, then works its way out from there.

    3. If you don't want Google Maps, you have to buy a Map app that allows offline maps and turn by turn navigation, like CoPilot. However you still have the problem of having no internet to connect and get your location quickly.
  8. garybeck

    garybeck Well-Known Member

    that's the point. I don't want online maps. I want downloaded maps. you don't need a data connection to use GPS if you can download the maps and store them permanently on your device. You do need a connection with Google's Navigation, but not other GPS apps. Sygic stores all the maps on your device and you can go anywhere without a data connection and it works just fine, just like a stand alone GPS. There are other GPS apps that allow this too.

    I guess I've answered my own question... I need to get the Haiti map from Sygic or find another GPS app that works without a data connection.

    But my original question stemmed from the fact that it appeared my GPS couldn't locate my position when I was in Haiti. Regardless of whether I had the map tile for it or not... my "dot" was in Florida, not Haiti.

  9. That is exactly what I said: you don't need a mobile data connection to use Google Maps' GPS function or the navigation function, as you can preload all maps and associated data for a specific area or route. Only the voice/audio assisted turn-by-turn function won't work because that does require a live mobile data connection.
    A live mobile data connection in a foreign country means roaming must be anabled. That's expensive. It is of course super convenient, but you pay the price. Most people paying their own phone bills want to avoid that. They can avoid it if they take the trouble to preload what they need while on WiFi, and are prepared to sacrifice the voice/audio assisted turn-by-turn function while en-route.

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