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[Buying Android phone] Do I need the Internet?

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Hi! I'm very new to Geocaching. I was initiated by a friend and thought it was awesome.

 

If this question has already been answered, please forgive me and direct me to the correct topic. I tried to search but the posts that came up were unanswered and several years old.

 

I'm buying a new Android phone in a few weeks and I'd like to know if I need to get a subscription with free internet with it or not. I can easily connect it to my house network while at home, but when out cashing, do I need internet access to use the GPS function and log found caches? Or can I download maps of the areas I want in advance before I set out?

 

Thanks a lot! It's all very new and a bit confusing.

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I've used GeoBeagle, Groundspeak's Geocaching app, and Neongeo in areas without a data connection. You have to download cache data in advance (e.g., with a Pocket Query), you have to log caches with field notes instead of live logs (which I do even when I have a data connection), and you don't have access to live maps.

 

But the GPS should still work, and you should be able to find and log (with field notes) caches using cache data you've downloaded in advance. And although I don't really use the feature, Neongeo does support offline maps.

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As this is not a bug report or feature request, I am moving this thread from the Groundspeak's Geocaching for Android App forum to the GPS and Technology forum. If you would like a response from Groundspeak, please email contact@Groundspeak.com for a personalized response. The Community Relations Team respond to all emails, and offer support regarding website use and mobile application use.

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I can easily connect it to my house network while at home, but when out cashing, do I need internet access to use the GPS function and log found caches? Or can I download maps of the areas I want in advance before I set out?
On the official GC app, you can easily save any cache to an "offline list". Maps aren't saved, so although you will get distance and direction, you won't know if there's a street (or a river) between you and the cache.

 

I have an Android tablet with no Internet data plan -- I have to use wifi hotspots. In a pinch, I've sometimes connected using wifi, started the Geocaching App and loaded a cache (so the map's in view how I like it), and left it on to go hunt the nearby cache.

 

It's best with a net-connected phone. Otherwise, you must find the magic place where you can get both wifi and GPS (such as at an outdoor cafe), get the data loaded, and go.

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There are many free good working app's for Android, programs like Locus and Maps will download via Wifi and store maptiles on the phone for use without network.

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I can now answer that question as I just bought a Samsung Android smartphone with all the Bs & Ws two days ago. The purchase was subsidized by signing up for a 2 yr. AT&T data plan so I can download data via their celluar service. Additionally, phone is Wi-Fi capable so that I can download data at home via my Wi-Fi router, at any of the AT&T WiFi hotspots and similarly at any TW Cable hot spots as I am a TWC subcriber for their internet service at home. (No, I don't frequent Starbucks or McDonald's, but one can WiFi there and many other establishments.) I then bought the $9.99 GC.com and immediately downloaded my PQs. It all worked fine and, zooming in, the cache icons displayed very well over the Google maps, including satellite views. I claimed a find and transmitted the find right back to GC.com.

 

Now, as to the original question, you do not need the internet as noted in the posts above. However, I found it to be a desireable extra and it comes at no extra cost as far as data usage as does cellular data transfer. Furthermore, the internet connectivity takes precendence over cellular connectivity when the internet is available, which minimizes the cellular data transmission.

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All right, thanks for all replies!

 

I'm probably getting one without an Internet subscription, and will buy 500-1000 Mb per month separately. I do wonder how long that will last though. Anyone knows how many Megabytes are needed every time I use a GPS function, like Google Maps?

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I'm probably getting one without an Internet subscription, and will buy 500-1000 Mb per month separately. I do wonder how long that will last though. Anyone knows how many Megabytes are needed every time I use a GPS function, like Google Maps?

I bought my first smartphone (a Droid Bionic) a couple of months ago. My service provider is Verizon. I also signed up for the (minimum) 2GB data plan. I've gotten two monthly bills from Verizon so far, and my maximum actual data usage has been under 500MB each month. I use a WiFi connection whenever one is available (at least with Verizon, data access over WiFi is free), and I almost never watch videos (YouTube, movies, etc.) unless I have a WiFi connection. I use several geocaching-related apps that download and upload data, and use the phone to get news and weather updates. I also often check my location and navigate to places using the phone, though I also use my trusty handheld GPS for that, too.

 

It all depends on what sorts of things you use your phone for, but in my experience so far, as long as you don't stream video very often, 500-1000MB per month should be plenty.

 

--Larry

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I think the question may be moot. None of the providers I know of will activate a smartphone, even just an iphone, without a data plan.

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I think the question may be moot. None of the providers I know of will activate a smartphone, even just an iphone, without a data plan.

Really? That's interesting. Where I live, you can either get a phone with a subscription including an internet data plan and free text messages etc, or you can simply buy the phone and refill whenever you need to. Which is better, financially speaking, if you don't use it a lot.

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I think the question may be moot. None of the providers I know of will activate a smartphone, even just an iphone, without a data plan.

Really? That's interesting. Where I live, you can either get a phone with a subscription including an internet data plan and free text messages etc, or you can simply buy the phone and refill whenever you need to. Which is better, financially speaking, if you don't use it a lot.

 

You will be purchasing for full price then, You can NOT get any smart phone, Windows,IOS, Android, Blackberry without a data plan. At least not for the lower price or free, Now if you want to buy a $400 phone and do this you can, but not many will spend that for a phone your only using half the features for.

 

But for the original question, yes you can use it without data,but not quite as easy as with as you cant update while in the field and the like.

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Believe it or not....there are places in the world where there is no cell coverage.... Most of the places I travel of the beaten path are like this. It is too bad that nobody is making a "good" map program that can use offline map, especially Garmin maps.

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"I think the question may be moot. None of the providers I know of will activate a smartphone, even just an iphone, without a data plan. "

 

Not true, in the Applestore you can buy any Iphone without a providerlink and/or data plan, as you can buy Androids without data plan.

 

@HQT

 

Be aware Maps live will load first the map, then while moving it renews a small slice of a map, if you are on a prepiad data plan it's better to first download the maps you need via WiFi.

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too bad that nobody is making a "good" map program that can use offline map, especially Garmin maps.

That would be pretty cool -- being able to use a Garmin street map offline just like a dedicated GPS can. The entire US still fits on 8GB, I think. It's not satellite views, but it's good.

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"I think the question may be moot. None of the providers I know of will activate a smartphone, even just an iphone, without a data plan. "

 

Not true, in the Applestore you can buy any Iphone without a providerlink and/or data plan, as you can buy Androids without data plan.

 

@HQT

 

Be aware Maps live will load first the map, then while moving it renews a small slice of a map, if you are on a prepiad data plan it's better to first download the maps you need via WiFi.

 

Guess some need some hand holding. See post #12.

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There are many good offline maps apps, but none are Garmins.

 

Really? I've not seen anything that comes close to what you can use on a PC.

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There are many good offline maps apps, but none are Garmins.

 

Really? I've not seen anything that comes close to what you can use on a PC.

 

I think the point of the reply above was that the poster

believes that Garmin's map apps are not any good, which

I tend to agree with. They're pretty lousy software in

my opinion.

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Might be a moot point, because most cellular carriers now require a you to pick a data package along with your voice/text plan in order to use a smart phone, such as a iPhone, Android, or Blackberry, on their networks. Internet access is that 'data'. Just how much 'data' you plan to use when not connected to a Wi-Fi access point will determine which tier of their data packages you will want to purchase.

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I think the point of the reply above was that the poster

believes that Garmin's map apps are not any good, which

I tend to agree with. They're pretty lousy software in

my opinion.

 

Actually, no I do not think that was the point....

 

The problem is the only decent way to get get map coverage anywhere in the world outside of the USA is with third party Garmin maps. There are also a lot of apps that will use Garmin maps.

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For the record, in case others are wondering:

 

I got an Android phone without an internet data plan and just use my Wi-Fi at home. I downloaded the C:GEO app and it has a simple feature of downloading caches for offline use. Very clear yet effective feature!

Also, Google Maps allows downloading entire maps for offline use. I, for instance, downloaded everything within a 16 km radius from my home. Works like a charm!

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