View Full Version here: : iPad GPS and Apps
05-05-2012, 06:54 AM
I am looking at buying the "new" iPad. Just wonderng if anyone knows if it is worth getting the full GPS model or just stick with the wifi only. Especially from the point of view of astronomy app use.
And while I'm going, which astronomy apps are out there that you would recommend? Anything from charts to just general info.
Thanks in advance for your sage advice.
05-05-2012, 08:45 AM
If you want to add another bill for the next 24 months of your life and take it everywhere go for the 4g otherwise if it's for home use stick to wifi.
05-05-2012, 12:27 PM
Apparently the 3G iPad has a stand alone GPS chip. So you can use the GPS without having a data connection to the 3G network. I thought that would be great when I'm away from my wifi.
05-05-2012, 12:31 PM
Shane, the GPS is an added bonus, you can get GPS mapping apps, navionics Marine make a fantastic marine mapping app, plus programs like Sky Safari, Starmap pro use the GPS to get your location. You don't need to use the Mobile data, just get a prepaid sim when and if you need one.
I have the wifi model only (32GB).
As I use my iPad a lot at home, I can just feed off my home wifi network.
As far as using it as a GPS navigator, the iPad is too big and unwieldy to have on the dash of car and too dangerous to view off a car seat.
If you want to surf the net on the go, you can buy a prepaid portable mobile wifi unit and connect other devices as well e.g. laptop.
I have SkySafari Pro which is probably the best sky navigation/info app I have seen for the money (now $60). There are cheaper versions with less objects (SkySafari Plus is $15). As it works off the internal compass you don't need GPS. Info for objects is inbuilt so you don't need a network connection. Updates can be performed on the home network. When I set up the app, the iPad seemed to be able to work out my general location without GPS using the internet.
Also recommend MoonPhase-moon info ($1.99) and Celsius-Weather & Temperature ($0.99).
05-05-2012, 01:27 PM
Thanks for that. I don't really want to use it as a navigator so much as for "Location specific" apps that are available. Apparently the wifi only models can locate you via Apple's wifi register. As long as you're in a wifi zone that Apple knows about, then it can locate you. Outside of that, you need the GPS.
I'll look into those apps. Thanks heaps. This is a new world for me as my PC is 8 years old and the newest gadget I have. I'm a bit out of date.
Just to change tack, would you still say iPad over say the Samsung galaxy?
05-05-2012, 04:16 PM
Shane, I have an iPad2 with 3G and would not be without an iPad with 3G. I use Topo mapping on mine and find the GPS an absolute must.
05-05-2012, 07:15 PM
Shane I'm a bit confused by your comments. You might be right, but you might have also misunderstood what you've read elsewhere.
My understanding is both WiFi and 3G models have the same GPS capability. I am quite sure this would be the case.
However GPS without 3G would be quite limited and perhaps this is where you have got wires crossed - think about it: If you are driving along a road and you have 3G, you can follow yourself on Google Earth and see what's around you. If you do not have 3G, you can only use cached (previously downloaded while in a WiFi zone) data so it's likely you won't have the data for where you are at the time. If you have taken a weekend drive to a town and want to find a cafe without 3G you wouldn't be able to locate yourself on Google Maps because it won't be able to download the map data (it will show your blue dot very accurately on a grid of gray lines ;) ) where as with 3G you can use Google Maps or AroundMe (or such apps) to find places to eat or things to do because they will be able to download map data through the 3G network.
Personally I would only buy a WiFi-only iPad if it was for use exclusively within my home or office. As soon as I knew there was a good chance I would be taking it out and about, 3G is a must for the sake of convenience. I use 3G a lot of the time, and having that transparency of not having to think about if you are in a WiFi zone or not, you're simply always connected, is great. Also even while at home, if the power goes out (storm of bush fire for example) I can find out information on the iPad because it has 3G.
05-05-2012, 07:49 PM
Hi Roger, it is confusing.
Not sure if I do have it right but I rang Apple and spoke to one of their "geniuses". He said that the wifi, gps and 3G all work independant of each other but will combine there data depending on what you are doing. Hence the term "assisted GPS".
The wifi only model does not have a GPS chip according to the man and the specs on Apple's website (check out the side by side iPad specs there). Apple maintains a list of wifi spots and locations. If you have wifi only, it will use this list to find your location. If you are not in a wifi zone, then it wont know where you are.
If you have the 3G/GPS model, the GPS still works even if there is no 3G or wifi connection. So if you have say an astronomy app that just wants to know your location, the GPS will locate you, even if you are way out of any other signal. However, if you are trying to navigate with it, the maps need to have been preloaded onto the iPad, as you said. Just like a car GPS.
If you have 3G, that then gives you internet access and so if you are missing a map, it will download it.
Anyway. that's what I think he meant. But both models don't have the same location system. As long as you are in a wifi zone though, you won't notice it, though apparently the wifi location service is not as accurate. I live in a rural area and usually don't have wifi so I need to make sure I have true GPS.
So I am going to buy the 3G just for the GPS and if I need to I'll stick a prepaid sim in when I want to use the internet 3G data.
05-05-2012, 08:02 PM
OK, learn something every day - I'm surprised the GPS aspect differs between models.
Locating via WiFi location would be unreliable in Australia, much more reliable in the US. It would likely work on the location of IP addresses, which in the US are quite location specific but in Australia are not so. As I understand it.
Good choice to go with 3G.
If you want "set and forget" pre-paid for the 3G, I recommend the 12 month Telstra pre-paid. I think mine was $159 for 12 months. I renew it once/year and otherwise forget about it. The 9GB allowance is plenty.
05-05-2012, 08:05 PM
Shane, you are correct in your interpretation. The WiFi model does not have GPS capability. The 3g version has the GPS chip and this can be used without a 3g connection to give you location coordinates. AGPS or assisted GPS combines 3g cell tower location with GPS location to enable faster location fixes.
05-05-2012, 08:08 PM
Don't rely on WiFi location at all. It is easy for it to get it wrong as it is based on the SSID associated to a location with other SSIDs. Case in point, I carry a WiFi router when I travel, if I stay too long in one location Google associates my SSID with location, when I move to another country, google still thinks my SSID is still in Colorado.
05-05-2012, 08:09 PM
Thanks for that Roger, I'll look into the prepaid. I think what I said is correct!! You can buy a seperate GPS receiver that plugs into the docking port of wifi only pads to add true GPS. I can't remember the name though.
What I don't know is which technology astronomy apps use to locate you. If an app is designed to only use wifi data to locate you, then no point having the GPS model. I was just wondering if anyone had experience with apps in that way.
05-05-2012, 08:22 PM
I expect.... The app will ask the iPad "give me your location", and the iPad will respond with it. If it's using the WiFi or GPS is up to the iPad (iOS operating system) and the app would not be programmed to work with one or the other, the best available would be used by the iPad and returned to the application.
So I doubt you need to consider it at all with respect to choosing apps.
05-05-2012, 08:37 PM
An iPad has no GPS at all and won't allow connecting to an external Bluetooth GPS as well. This is a limitation of iOS.
The so-called 'GPS' is actually A-GPS from the locations of the Wifi hotspots collected by Google or obtained by triangulation of the GSM posts in case of 3G.
That is one of the reasons I sold my iPad and now use a Samsung Galaxy S2 which works fine with an external GPS. The internal GPS of it is rather poor but still works for car navigation.
05-05-2012, 08:52 PM
I thought A-GPS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assisted_GPS) was a true GPS? I read the Wikipedia link and it sounds like just normal GPS supplemented by wifi and 3G data to increase the initial location time.
05-05-2012, 09:29 PM
That is true. Most phones (including top models as Samsung Galaxy S2 and iPhone 4S) have such a poor GPS that they only fix with A-GPS in a decent time (< 1 minute).
But the iPad has no GPS at all.
05-05-2012, 09:29 PM
Your iPad must have been WiFi only, or your understanding slightly wrong. It definitely seems Shane's research is correct.
I regularly use my 3G iPad in remote areas (with no 3G or WiFi connectivity), using apps with pre-downloaded maps and GPS for tracking on those maps. It matches the car GPS just fine and with good accuracy.
23-05-2012, 05:35 AM
Hi. Just incase anyone reads this later, I have my new iPad wifi + 4G and I can confirm it has a true GPS. I have no sim and no wifi on and it will track me as I walk around the backyard (Google map stored in memory). Now to learn how to drive it.
vBulletin® v3.8.7, Copyright ©2000-2013, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.