GPS in Piemonte or will cell phone do?

Old Jul 16th, 2015, 08:14 AM
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GPS in Piemonte or will cell phone do?

I know that GPS has been discussed here many times, but I still have questions. I am considering buying a gps for this trip, however there are so many newer apps for maps on the Iphone that I'm not sure it's needed. We do also have very good paper maps that we are taking. We are spending 6 nights in Piemonte and plan to drive to several wineries and small towns (staying in La Morra). How is the cell service in this area? All suggestions are welcome. The rental car company wants too much to rent the gps, so I figure we might as well spend the money to buy one if need be.
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Old Jul 16th, 2015, 08:22 AM
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My wife and I just returned from Piemonte and spent three days driving around Asti, Alba, La Morra, Barolo, etc. We used the Google Maps GPS on our cell phone and never ran into trouble or loss of service. No need to buy a GPS, in my opinion. Also, the roads are very well-marked (direction in which a town is located and mileage).

La Morra is beautiful. Enjoy.
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Old Jul 16th, 2015, 09:35 AM
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I've heard complaints from people looking for specific out-of-the-way restaurants or wineries in Piemonte that Google is not reliable. On the other hand, I traveled in Piemonte with Garmin, and at least once ended up facing somebody's private, gated driveway, with Garmin urging me on.

Probably bringing everything you can is the right idea -- although I don't know that I would invest is an expensive system. Asking locals when you get there helps -- but biggest tip is to leave plenty of time for getting lost, and also for the intensely winding roads of the foothills in the wine-growing areas. Nothing but switchbacks in some places, and it slow going between towns.
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Old Jul 16th, 2015, 09:07 PM
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Relying on your phone means relying on consistent cell service. FWIW, my phone screen is too small and difficult to read in bright light. GPS apps are battery hogs, so be prepared to recharge on the fly, and there are some apps with lots of features (you may want) that cost almost as much as a GPS unit. If you only needed GPS for a day, I'd say use the phone. But for nearly a week, consider buying a unit. If you don't plan to drive in Europe in the future, you can sell it used when you get home.

If you decide to use your phone, compare recent user reviews (not just tech reviews) of the different apps. Some are definitely better than others.

Bonus: Our Tomtom alerts us to speed cameras.

http://www.ebay.com/gds/The-Pros-and...7629662/g.html
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Old Jul 16th, 2015, 09:39 PM
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With a cellphone, you have two options although you have only mentioned one. For all cases, you need hardware in addition to your phone.

Common Hardware:
Mounting hardware
charging. Either car USB adapter or external battery unit.

1. online option, such as google navigation. For this to work, you need a mobile data service with a lot of data. I consume about 10MB/hr in this mode. Do you have a mobile data strategy?

2. offline option. NO cell data connection. This is how dedicated GPSs work. Phones can also work in this mode. For this to work, you need map already loaded on your phone. You can try an app like HERE and download target maps. You can test this out at home by loading the app and the offline map your area, turn off cell data to see how well it works using satellite signal alone. It takes considerably longer to find your current location.
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Old Jul 17th, 2015, 07:10 AM
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Thanks all. Greg, I'm debating between getting an international plan for 1 month or buying a SIM card. I doubt we will need it every day. Obviously we got around just fine several times (in the dark ages.. before cell phones) with regular maps. I can't believe how reliant we are on our technology now!
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Old Jul 17th, 2015, 01:15 PM
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I speak from experience as the navigator on many driving trips throughout Europe. I can't tell you how much more enjoyable it is to explore with GPS rather than following road signs and paper maps. Night and day. I still take paper maps to help in the planning and to see the "big picture" of an area, but the purchase of the Tomtom was, for me, worth every penny. We've also loaned it to friends and family for their trips.
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Old Jul 18th, 2015, 07:48 PM
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I would do both and increase the availability of finding the targeted locations at any time. In case the Internet signal weakened, there is the GPS. Plus, the GPS could be used for later trips, or be borrowed and used by others.

If SIM cards were not preferred, there are devices at car rentals that work in the place of the WiFi and wirelessly provide the phones receivers with Internet. They have certain limits (2 GB or something similar).


I would bring a car charger if I am going to use Google Maps on my phone, as it "drinks" the battery.
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