How to avoid data roaming charges

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    PocketEarth is designed for offline use and makes it easy to avoid data roaming costs by allowing you to download maps and routes in advance and use them offline, even with GPS.  Here is some information and suggestions to make sure you don’t get charged!

    GPS usage is always free, however downloading data is often not!  To avoid expensive map downloads, we recommend downloading all of your destinations in advance from a WiFi connection. Please see this forum post for information on how to download entire countries or regions with PocketEarth.
    Once you have downloaded all the maps you may need, you can disable downloading to be sure PocketEarth won’t download anything. Just go to Settings > Network Mode and change it to Offline Mode or WiFi Only.
    Alternately, you may wish to prevent all of your apps from using up your limited and expensive data plan, not only PocketEarth.  While the Airplane Mode will certainly do this, it will also prevent all GPS usage! Fortunately there is a better solution which will still allow you to use the GPS in PocketEarth and other apps while preventing cellular downloads: In the device’s main Settings App, just go to General > Network and disable either Cellular Data completely or just Data Roaming and it will prevent expensive data usage while traveling abroad.

    Please note that using the GPS “offline” (when both WiFi and Cellular are unavailable) works well, but may take longer to find your initial location. From our experience this is usually 30-40 seconds, but in some cases can be up to 2 minutes.
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    This might get device specific. I have 3 different devices and need to figure out the best device to use PE on.

    Ipad2 with WiFi only, iphone 4s and Samsung GalaxyS3. I will be travelling in Europe (I am based in Phoenix, Arizona). I will not have any cellular data plan, just the occasional wifi from the hotel.

    Which device has the best GPS built-in which can take advantage of the geotracking, route mapping and all the features of PE, while trekking thru small towns in the Swiss Alps?

    Is there any benefit to purchasing external GPS add-ons such as the Elf?

    • Topics: 63
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    I’m very sorry to have missed this. But for the sake of anyone who might find it, I can say,,,

    I have an iPad 2, 32 mb, WIFI & Verizon 3G. I’ve taken it to both England and Italy. ( Oh, I’m American!) So it has had a real workout for a cumulative three weeks abroad. And without any kind of data plan: WiFi in the rental apartments, but no connection of any kind while walking the cities or driving the countryside. My lovely wife had her iPhone 4S, with a very limited data plan on both these trips.

    PE performed like a champ all the way through. At one point, our friends were asking me to give the driving directions, as they preferred that to using their older SatNav!

    Comparing the usability and performance of the two Apple devices from our experiences, I’ll make two points.

    1. The larger screen of the iPad was invaluable. Period, the end!
    2. In a very few limited situations, the iPhone was able to get a GPS fix when the iPad was not able.
    One time, Loie got a map in a train, when my iPad could not. It was fun following along, just to see where we were, but obviously we didn’t need to navigate while riding a train!
    Several times (both on our trips, and while around home), we noticed that the iPhone acquired a GPS fix rather more quickly than did the iPad when driving. There’s something about the combination of being in a car/train AND moving quickly that the poor old iPad 2 struggles with.

    However, please remember that my beloved iPad is now –in device lives– ancient! I’d be surprised if newer models were’t a heck of a lot quicker.

    So for my 62 year old bifocalled eyes, the larger screen is important. “Your mileage may vary!”

    And finally, no, neither of our devices needed or indeed would have particularly have benefitted by having an external GPS receiver. The only thing that might improve performance would potentially be a newer iPad! Ooh, with Retina screen!

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