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Countries where GPSr are forbidden


Lopesco
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From my personal experience (and from some friends), I've realize that your GPSr will sleep in customs if you try to enter in some countries with it.

So, please feel free to add in this thread, places where you cannot take your GPSr. So, next time you plan some holidays, you can come here and see if there's no problem.

 

I go first:

 

Cuba

Tunisia

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UK

Interesting story about an un-permitted hide, but it has nothing to do with the topic... you can take your GPS into the UK and cache freely there.

 

I don't know it for fact but I would guess that Guatemala still does not allow GPS. The last time I went down we had to sell all of the CB radios the convoy was using at the border. The border guards didn't want the revolutionaries to have them, and said that if either side saw an antenna on a civilian car they'd likely shoot at you, each side figuring that you were on the other! If they feel like that about CB radios I seriously doubt that GPS makes them happy.

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In China there's some restritions on the use of GPSr.

 

Since the beginning of 2009 in China there are some restrictions on the use of GPSR, among them one can not use them for mapping land use and in addition, any maps loaded into memory can only be of one's own country. If thses are violated, the user's GPSr taken.

 

edit - translated for you, loco. :D

Edited by Jeep_Dog
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From my personal experience (and from some friends), I've realize that your GPSr will sleep in customs if you try to enter in some countries with it.

So, please feel free to add in this thread, places where you cannot take your GPSr. So, next time you plan some holidays, you can come here and see if there's no problem.

 

I go first:

 

Cuba

Tunisia

Despite that, there are caches in both countries (20 in Cuba and 32 in Tunisia). I'm wondering if Groundspeak should not publish caches in those countries.

 

This article makes valid points about taking a GPS into any country with an ongoing civil strife. "A $100. GPS receiver used to help you find your way back to your hotel in Bangkok, may appear to have a very different use to a Military or Police intelligence officer or interrogator. In many places around the world, your GPS would be considered to be a very high tech spy tool. Were you to be found, even unknowingly, using your GPS near a sensitive facility, you would almost certainly be detained and questioned and your GPS confiscated. " ... "Never sell your GPS receiver to a local resident. If you are going to work in a place which has GPS restrictions and you need GPS to perform this work, it is especially important to do your homework. Get a letter from the Consulate or Embassy giving you permission to have and use your equipment. Keep it with you while you are using your GPS. It might be wise to have this letter in both English and the local language. "

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As of last year, both Egypt and Syria also banned use of GPS equipment by "civilians". That said, lots of people in Egypt obtain imported cell phones that can make use of the feature to get around the edict.

 

I don't know whether either of those countries has changed their policies in the last 12 months.

 

Edit: Egypt has just recently FINALLY changed their position on this (after promising to do so for years). So take it along and keep your camel pointed in the right direction on that next desert tour.

Edited by ecanderson
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Tunisia

Here's a link to a free Garmin map for Tunisia:

http://gps.4x4travel.org/

 

So what? Are you telling me that, 2 weeks ago, that when the gentlemen from customs took my friend GPSr for the duration of his hollydays, they were wrong? Maybe, but, even so, they have done it...

I don't recall saying anything about your friend. Are you trying to place works in my mouth? What is this all about then?

 

http://www.subzeroblue.com/archives/2008/0..._gps_weene.html

 

http://www.weenee.info/

Edited by JDiablo
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Tunisia
Here's a link to a free Garmin map for Tunisia:

http://gps.4x4travel.org/

So what? Are you telling me that, 2 weeks ago, that when the gentlemen from customs took my friend GPSr for the duration of his hollydays, they were wrong? Maybe, but, even so, they have done it...
Based solely on a google search, it appears that GPS usage is legal in Tunisia. I can find no references that state that it is illegal. I found a national travel advisory that advised using GPS navigation to avoid getting lost and running into 'trouble'. I found navigable GPS maps of Tunisia. Also, I found sources to buy GPSrs in Tunisia.

 

If it is illegal, they are keeping it on the down low.

 

I suspect that your friend lost his unit due to a miscommunication with the customs official.

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I went to Tunesia in september 2008 for an organised mountainbike holiday (1 week) together with about 100 other participants (Raid des Ksour, organised by a Belgian MTB magazine). About 1 in 3 participants brought his own GPS-receiver for use during this raid. However, the organisation asked us all to fill in a form with brand + model of the GPS, and serial number. This information was required for customs, although they didn't check anything when entering or leaving the country.

 

About the maps : you can find free ones on the internet (see link above), or you can buy an "official" Garmin topomap for Tunesia. But the quality of the maps is not what we're used to in "the western world" ...

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You probably don't want to be searching for geocaches in Iraq with your GPSr if you are not military or working for a company that has government contracts.

And I expect it would be good to have some idea about the difference between a cache and an improvised explosive device.

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:D:D

And I expect it would be good to have some idea about the difference between a cache and an improvised explosive device.

Unfortunately, that part is pretty easy. There's certainly never any argument about who was FTF.

 

I write this from Cairo - GPSr are fine in Egypt. Just be careful of pickpockets and it being snatched while walking in alleys and crowded places (that's most of Cairo :D )

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UK

Interesting story about an un-permitted hide, but it has nothing to do with the topic... you can take your GPS into the UK and cache freely there.

 

I don't know it for fact but I would guess that Guatemala still does not allow GPS. The last time I went down we had to sell all of the CB radios the convoy was using at the border. The border guards didn't want the revolutionaries to have them, and said that if either side saw an antenna on a civilian car they'd likely shoot at you, each side figuring that you were on the other! If they feel like that about CB radios I seriously doubt that GPS makes them happy.

My son was just there on a mission trip. GPSr is fine there, in fact the local tourism police have a cache in their station, and will escort you to caches in the area if you request it because safety IS an issue there. If you read some of the logs on caches in Guatemala, they are funny. One guy was looking for a cache, the tourism police were with him. The cache was missing so the PD went to their car, made a new cache for the man, he signed the fresh log and they placed the cache in the proper location. Saved a DNF....lol

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Geocaching should not be impacted at all. There's no need to worry, IMHO.

 

With the massification of mobile phones carrying GPS chipsets (Apple iPhone, Nokia N96, Nokia 6210 Navigator, Nokia 6730, just to name a few I've had in my hands lately), where does this lead us to?

 

Since I assume it's legal (and common) to be carrying around a mobile phone on such countries, are people going to get questioned about the use of GPS technology? The real problem here are the GPS receivers that resemble military devices (lots of buttons, rugged edges, that kind of stuff) to some poor souls - kinda in the same way a tupperware wrapped in a plastig bag resembles an explosive device.

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Since I assume it's legal (and common) to be carrying around a mobile phone on such countries, are people going to get questioned about the use of GPS technology?

Actually Egypt USED to (and Syria still does) drive Nokia and others absolutely beserk with their demands that any phones imported do NOT support GPS. That's not to say that people don't "somehow" wind up with them, but they're on the forbidden technology import list.
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Since I assume it's legal (and common) to be carrying around a mobile phone on such countries, are people going to get questioned about the use of GPS technology?

Actually Egypt USED to (and Syria still does) drive Nokia and others absolutely beserk with their demands that any phones imported do NOT support GPS. That's not to say that people don't "somehow" wind up with them, but they're on the forbidden technology import list.

 

Hummm I'm planning to visit Syria (and Jordan) in a couple of months. This is worrying me. I will try to contact some fellows, like the owners of the few caches created in Syria and some of those who visited them about customs and GPS units. Probably it will be infinitely easier to enter the country with a small Garmin Dakota, looking like a touch screen mobile phone, than with an old model (looking strange and suspicious).

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Since I assume it's legal (and common) to be carrying around a mobile phone on such countries, are people going to get questioned about the use of GPS technology?

Actually Egypt USED to (and Syria still does) drive Nokia and others absolutely beserk with their demands that any phones imported do NOT support GPS. That's not to say that people don't "somehow" wind up with them, but they're on the forbidden technology import list.

 

Hummm I'm planning to visit Syria (and Jordan) in a couple of months. This is worrying me. I will try to contact some fellows, like the owners of the few caches created in Syria and some of those who visited them about customs and GPS units. Probably it will be infinitely easier to enter the country with a small Garmin Dakota, looking like a touch screen mobile phone, than with an old model (looking strange and suspicious).

 

Hi there!

 

The question isn't how to get a GPSr inside a forbidden country, but if it's legal to use it. If we carry the garmin inside our luggage, 99% of the cases, it will pass customs, but, if the local autorithy notice that you are carry one in the street, will it get you a night in jail, or a fine?

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Where did you get this info. According to the usps its ok to mail a GPSr to Syria. On the website of the United States Postal Service they have a list of items that are forbidden to be shipped to each country in the world. Syria's page mentions nothing about GPSr.
Just because something is legal for export, that doesn't mean it's legal for sale to or use by civilians. Actually, I'm surprised GPS technology is even exportable to Syria (would like verification), but that's not my contention.

 

The answer is here at the USDoS site:

 

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1035.html

 

Specifically:

 

"Note that it is illegal in Syria to possess specific-use electronic devices including GPS, short-wave or handheld radio equipment, or similar devices."

Edited by ecanderson
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Where did you get this info. According to the usps its ok to mail a GPSr to Syria. On the website of the United States Postal Service they have a list of items that are forbidden to be shipped to each country in the world. Syria's page mentions nothing about GPSr.
FYI also: Export restrictions on technology of this sort often apply to the following countries: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. I'd be surprised if someone were allowed to ship a GPS to any of those countries. The USPS isn't the final arbiter of export license law by any means.
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Well, quoting an USA federal website regarding what is or what is not allowed in Syria is quite funny. As we know, accordingly to these kind of sources Syria is not very different from hell itself, so.....

 

Also very funny those export restrictions... well, they they are so logical, therefore must be so effective!!! Of course nobody in any other country of the world will think about selling GPSr units to Syria. Of course that's an efective measure. dadgum Syrians, they will never settle their hands in good american GPSr units like those manufactured by Magellan or Garmim. No sir. LOL

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Well, quoting an USA federal website regarding what is or what is not allowed in Syria is quite funny. As we know, accordingly to these kind of sources Syria is not very different from hell itself, so.....

Sorry -- you seem to have a bug up your (something) about a USA website that provides information to us for our travels. Your opinion doesn't change the facts. You'll find that even sources you dislike can inform your opinion from time to time.

 

Here are others that may make you feel better in the reading...

 

 

First, an industry publication for the cell phone business (my earlier post noted how the Egyptians were driving the cell companies nuts with their requirements):

 

http://www.cellular-news.com/story/36886.php

 

"Today, there are now just two countries in the world still ban the commercial use of GPS: Syria and North Korea (which happens to manufacture GPS jamming devices)."

 

 

and one from a gps retailer:

 

http://www.rte-gps.com/

 

"Egypt is one of only three countries in the world, (the others are North Korea and Syria), that do not allow the possession of GPS devices without government permission." (published before Egypt got it right earlier this year)

 

 

and an Egyptian newspaper (noting with relief that the ban there was over, but not in the PRK or Syria):

 

http://www.thedailynewsegypt.com/article.a...ArticleID=20865

 

"The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) lifted the ban, meaning that now only two countries on earth, Syria and North Korea, still forbid the use of GPS."

 

 

Are those more acceptable sources to you?

 

 

Edited by ecanderson
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