Unless you have an unlimited internet plan, chances are you know all the basics of managing data – no downloading those large apps, no online gaming and no streaming when you aren’t connected to Wi-Fi!
But what happens if you want to use your GPS while still being conservative with the usage of your data? Is there a way you can save data using gps as you find your way on that hiking trail or try to find the nearest pizza joint in unfamiliar place?
The simple answer is YES!
One of the best ways to limit your data usage is to purchase a designated GPS Navigation device, but there are ways that you can use your mobile phone for navigation without skyrocketing your monthly bill.
I know you are probably asking how, and I will tell you all about it shortly. But before we go into that, let me first explain how GPS works so that you can get an idea of the Google maps data usage.
How Does GPS Work?
Since the ancient times, humans have always looked to the skies in order to find their way. Look at the ancient sailors; they used star constellations in the sky at night so that they could determine their routes. Today, we might not employ the same system, but the idea is the same. We have a simple GPS (Global Positioning Systems) that uses satellites, giving us accurate results of where we are around the globe.
There are more than 30 navigation satellites (acting like star constellations) that are zipping around our planet. A single satellite sends signals to your gps navigation system, calculating its distance from other satellites to give you your exact location with incredible precision. Amazing, right? Now back to our main point…
How Much Data Does Google Maps Use?
If you’re on a limited data plan, you may be wondering: How much data will the Google Maps navigation and directions app use? Well, that’s a good question! GPS uses data to communicate with the satellites in the orbit, and while it might not bump up your monthly data bills if you use it for short commute, you need to be vigilant if you are a road warrior.
Now, let’s take an example that you are taking a road trip to the Hill Country Hideaways in Texas, driving a cool 6 hours or so. You will be surprised to see how little data your Google maps will consume. On average, your device might only use less than 100 megabytes, but the problem comes in when you want to zoom in and get a satellite view for detailed information. This will most probably rack up the megabytes, but nothing dramatic!
Tips to Save Data When Using GPS
For long trips, or people who need directions on a regular basis, luckily, there are ways to save data with GPS. Here are some quick tips:
- If you really don’t need to obtain more information about your location or where you are going, do not use the satellite view as this could eat up your data. Just use the basic Goggle maps to get to your destination.
- For long trips where you will be on a single road for quite a while, unless you want to be kept alert of traffic conditions, make a mental note of how far it is until the next “turn” and turn off the app until about 20 miles or so before you need it again. This also saves on battery life.
- If you’re going to an area where data is expensive, you can save data by downloading the areas and save the information on your SD card or device. Yes, it’s possible! All you need to do is open the Goggle Maps app on your device, search for the place you want to go, and then just click download at the bottom. However, it’s good to note that you might not get transit or bicycling directions, as well as traffic info and lane guidance.
- Get a designated GPS Navigation device with all the info saved. That’s right. If you want to traverse any location in the world, you can get a Garmin GPS Device, TomTom GPS or a GPS watch. If you are sailing out into the ocean, a Marine GPS might also come in handy to help you navigate the waters. These all have the maps stored on the device so that you don’t have to download them every time.
Whether you’re planning your next road trip, hiking through “uncharted” trails, or simply want to find a good burger joint near your location, there’s no doubt a need for GPS is our everyday life. But if you are not vigilant when using Google maps, you might end up using more data than you need to. To save data by using GPS, employ these tips and you will love it. Happy navigation!
For information on more great travel, electronics and automotive related products and buying guides, make sure to visit TopProducts.com. If you’re concerned about tracking your vehicle itself, we recommend checking out a GPS Tracking System which uses the same technology to locate a lost or stolen vehicle in a hurry!
James N Wambui, TopProducts Staff Writer