By Thibault — Posted on June 29, 2019

How to use GPS without signal

While some entrepreneurs and technology fans in metropolises rave about self-propelled cars, deliveries by air drones and in smart factories, mobile phone service coverage is much worse in many parts of rural areas. Of course, this is extremely annoying for consumers. But why is there such poor mobile phone connectivity in some regions and is it possible to take benefit from some important features without GPS reception?

Why is poor or even no mobile phone signal often annoying for users?

Mobile phone users often complain that there is poor reception, if any, in some regions. Especially when there is hardly a mobile phone signal available in the home or office, annoyances are inevitable: Writing WhatsApp messages is hardly possible, let alone successfully making a phone call. But a missing mobile phone signal can also cause a lot of trouble while on the road, because the important e-mails cannot be opened and the user cannot call the emergency service in the event of a breakdown. But all these are not reasons enough for a discount; the agreed costs in the mobile phone contract must be paid in full.

Why is there often poor mobile phone reception, especially in the desert regions of the USA?

The American mobile phone network is just as complex as in Germany, because there is no network provider that covers the entire American territory at all times. Accordingly, there are different mobile phone providers in the USA, such as T-Mobile USA or AT&T, each of which of course wants to get the biggest slice of the pie. As a result, densely populated cities are supplied first, while rural desert regions such as Arizona and sparsely populated areas have to wait.

Why is this particularly unfavorable for GPS applications such as some navigation apps and Google Maps?

Today it is inconceivable for many people to find the right way without Google Maps. The smartphone has long since established itself as an alternative to the classic navigation device, because it is particularly handy, acts quickly and can be updated in no time at all. But if no Internet connection is available, the app cannot update itself so that it can no longer send or receive any live information about the location. In principle, GPS apps also work without the Internet, because the location of the smartphone is calculated with the help of satellites. Accordingly, the user can locate himself when GPS is activated, but is not shown where he is because the necessary map material is not available offline. The navigation app uses an active Internet connection, it cannot recalculate routes or the like if there are no signals available.

How can it make sense in this case to work with offline applications by downloading Google Maps to your smartphone in advance?

If you want to avoid unpleasant surprises on the road, you can save the maps with all the associated information for offline use on your smartphone in Maps. Although the offline version does not contain as much information as its online counterpart, it works reliably even if there is insufficient reception. Google Maps itself is pre-installed on all Android devices and is thus very widespread. The detailed map not only knows the right way, it also shows interesting locations such as petrol stations, restaurants and tourist attractions in the area. The user is then armed against all eventualities.

How accurately does downloading Google map content for offline use work?

To download Google Maps content for offline use, the user selects “Offline Maps” from the app menu. The desired map section can then be searched for on the world map and downloaded. In this area you can now navigate without signal reception. The app has a large size because it is fed with millions of data every day. This ensures up-to-date navigation even without the Internet.

Conclusion

To navigate offline with Google Maps, a modern smartphone is an important prerequisite. The device must not only have sufficient GPS reception, but also sufficient memory. Since the maps have to be downloaded before they can be used offline and can be several hundred megabytes or even gigabytes in size, there must be enough memory available. In addition, the download should be carried out exclusively via an active WLAN connection, because in this way no expensive data volume is consumed.