Forum Question: Do GPS Apps Incur Roaming Charges In Canada?

If I use my Navigon GPS app driving through Canada do you know if I will incur data roaming charges? In other words, do GPS apps use cellular data or another signal?
Thanks! Happy Thanksgiving and keep up the awesome work!!!

Comments: 4 Responses to “Do GPS Apps Incur Roaming Charges In Canada?”

    11/24/11 @ 8:36 am

    Yes, but probably not in the way you think.
    Your position is determined by looking at: nearby wifi signals (just listening and noting signal strengths), nearby wireless mobile phone towers, and GPS satellite signals. The first and last don’t use any wireless carriers, of course. The second does, but I doubt it uses any real data to just note the signal strengths.
    You can turn off data roaming in your Settings app. And then you shouldn’t get charged for using any data while in Canada. You can test that easily enough. Turn off data roaming and then try to use your web browser while out of wifi range.
    So then you are set — but you can’t use your GPS app. That’s because any GPS app will also need the Internet for data. The set of numbers that you get for a location won’t do an app any good unless it can load map data, or whatever kind of data it uses (nearby restaurants, etc). So GPS alone isn’t worth anything.
    So the bottom line is that you can’t really use any “GPS” app without paying for data bandwidth. Maybe on a wifi network you can make plans, but while on the move you won’t be able to keep using it.

    11/24/11 @ 11:25 am

    Working even on a holiday – you’re the best!

    The Navigon app maps are stored on the iPhone/iPad and their promo video says “you can navigate even without a cell phone signal”. That’s why I wondered about data usage.

    11/24/11 @ 9:58 pm

    There *is* a problem with “unintended” international fees. For instance, If you have an iPhone4 which is capable on various international networks, you still might be charged ridiculous amounts for *phone* access. WiFi best bet when traveling to Canada – or places further.

    11/27/11 @ 3:26 pm

    Follow-up note:

    On the iPhone under “Settings-General-Network” I switched the “Cellular Data” switch to “OFF” and the Navigon GPS App (with the maps stored on the iPhone) still functioned fine. I’m assuming this setup will get me through Canada without data roaming charges.

    Have a great day!

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