iPhone GPS any good for Greece?

Jul 26th, 2012, 12:50 PM
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iPhone GPS any good for Greece?

So, our sat nav (a Tom Tom) has died and we are off to Greece (the Peloponnese) in August.

The hubby is getting an iPhone (from his work) next week and it will have some kind of GPS function.

I am loath to drop EUR200 on a new satnav if the iPhone will work just as well.

I know the iPhone will not talk to you and tell you to "turn left in 300 metres" etc. However as we will always be travelling together I figure one of us can work the phone and call out the directions so that might not matter so much.

Has anyone out there used a GPS on an iPhone for Greece, and if so how did you find it?

Many thanks

littlejane is offline  
Jul 26th, 2012, 10:10 PM
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Haven't used it myself (I have a Tom Tom), but if it operates through 3G the data usage may be expensive, especially if you have a non-Greek sim. I always turn off data roaming when using my iPhone outside my home country.
Heimdall is offline  
Jul 26th, 2012, 11:38 PM
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Thanks Heimdall - hadn't even thought about that aspect of things. I wish I wasn't such a luddite
littlejane is offline  
Jul 26th, 2012, 11:48 PM
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The key is how are you going to obtain the map. If you don't want to pay breathtaking data roaming charge or use a local SIM (with an unlocked iPhone), you need buy offline map.
greg is offline  
Jul 27th, 2012, 03:55 AM
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Thanks Greg also. I see the flaw in the plan now...

littlejane is offline  
Jul 28th, 2012, 12:48 PM
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Another consideration if you're using an actual GPS app (as opposed to cell tower triagulation 'GPS') is that they tend to be power hogs. You just won't get the battery life out of an iPhone running proper GPS that you would from a TomTom or a Garmin. You may be better served buying a new or eBay satnav.

UTour is offline  
Jul 28th, 2012, 09:42 PM
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How about using a map?
There was a time, not so long ago, when GPS didn't exist...
If you don't want to invest on a new GPS try using a map..
This has always worked for me in Greece...
clausar is offline  
Jul 29th, 2012, 02:28 PM
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At least since iPhone 4/4s, they have genuine satellite, GPS capability built-in.

However, as others have pointed out, the Google-provided free map function on iPhone, needs a cellular data (or Wifi) connection to display the *actual* roads! Obviously short-range Wifi is not going to work in a car, and a cellular roaming data connection will be extremely expensive.

A "real" 3rd party navigation app (with voice, turn-by-turn directions) installed on the iphone, one that uses maps from the iphone's memory, may be what you want.

Not all apps will have the maps in memory, so shop carefully.

I recall the TomTom iPhone app uses the phone's memory, whereas the Garmin app relies on cellular-downloaded maps. Verify to be sure.

I researched various apps some months ago, but then wife gave me a Garmin Nuvi GPS device for Xmas gift, and now that is my preferred device when I need "industrial grade" navigation, in the car.
tom_h is offline  
Jul 29th, 2012, 04:29 PM
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Just a clarification on my post that when I was referring to Garmin or TomTom, I was referring to their stand-alone GPSs as opposed to their smartphone apps. I'd be interested in hearing from someone who has either of these as iPhone or Android apps how their battery life compares with other GPS apps.

UTour is offline  
Jul 30th, 2012, 12:06 AM
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Thanks for the comments everyone.

Clausar, we will buy a map, not least because the satnavs can go on strike and you need a plan B... what I love about the satnavs is the ability to find your accommodation, i.e. the way the hotels and places of interest are saved into the memory. We stayed in an apartment complex last year in Corfu and would never have found it were it not for the satnav.

And it takes the pressure off me as navigator! If we go wrong now I can just blame the satnav... funny, I am never able to get away with blaming the map
littlejane is offline  
Jul 30th, 2012, 12:42 AM
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There was a report a couple of years ago in an other travelers forum about a couple traveling on Peloponnese, and wanting to explore Nemea area departing from Nafplion. Although route on the map was obvious, satnav was saying otherwise, and people went with the satnav, resulting on traveling on back roads for 2 hours and finally not been able to know where they are. They had to ask directions from locals at the end to find their way, and they were found many kms away from their original destinations. Actually locals were scratching their heads and try to make sure they understood right where visitors were trying to go, because they were absolutely outside their route. A conversation started then about satnavs etc, and most people agreed that if you have to pick between a map and a sat nav, go with the map lol
I still remember an article on Irish Times about a small town in rural Ireland. People had to go through this town to et to a more popular destination. GPS was suggesting turning right on a narrow road. Although there were road signs forbidding/suggesting against it, people were still going with GPS. Result was that every few weeks a local farmer had to repair his wall and naive tourists had to pay large sums of money to car gire companies lol
mariha2912 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2012, 01:13 AM
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Mariha you are absolutely right !!!
GPS is not always correct.....
When i bought mine 2 years ago ( MLS Talk and Drive) i was trying desperately to locate my home in the city of Gerakas.
The GPS couldn't recognize the address.. until i found out , that it was listed under the city of Glyka Nera.....
That was an error of Google Maps, that got corrected 1 year ago, after confusing people for many years...
( Restaurants when ordering take out food, could never locate my location, and i had to give instructions every time i ordered something....)
clausar is offline  
Jul 30th, 2012, 01:57 AM
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Satnavs show the private driveway to my home as a public road, and it's also shown as a public road on Google Maps. Even though we have a sign that says "private road", many drivers choose to believe their satnav instead.
Heimdall is offline  
Jul 30th, 2012, 04:42 AM
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UTour, I have the TomTom app on my phone. It does eat up the battery, but there is an inexpensive 3rd party device that allows you to plug it into the cigarette lighter in the car. I would think it would all be worthless outside this country though as you can't turn location services on without breaking the bank.
OO is offline  
Jul 30th, 2012, 05:33 AM
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Hi OO,

I though TomToms et al might but wanted to double-check. As far as a DC-AC coverter's concerned, it's a godsend for what I do.

I was in Cape Breton last Fall and while I had my own Garmin (plus another one providing a narrated tour of the Cabot Trail), I was running Waze on my iPhone for the heck of it. I did a test from full charge on both devices and the iPhone was running on fumes in a bit under two hours while the nüvi was good for four.

I just raised the power issue because it's one that can quite easily get overlooked when comparing smartphone navigation versus dedicated devices like Garmins, TomToms, etc. Your other point about data charges is one many don't take into consideration (not to mention the hazard of assuming ubiquitous cell coverage).

I'd much sooner use a device that has the necessary map information on-board and the ability to locate itself rather than get caught looking at an inopportune moment

UTour is offline  
Jul 30th, 2012, 06:26 AM
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Nobody ever said GPS was perfect but neither are maps and mistakes in map reading are common.

I'd echo the suggestion to get a dedicated GPS unit. They need to be expensive. Almost 3 years ago I bought a TomTom 920 on eBay for $84 and shipping was free. This would have been a $700 dollar unit when new in about 2007. It came with maps of Western Europe as well as North America and has worked almost perfectly ever since. I is always on when I'm in the car even locally as it allows me to use my phone hands free via Bluetooth.

Not so long ago we did indeed have to rely on maps... but when a useful tool such as GPS comes along it makes a powerful addition to one's navigation options.
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Aug 1st, 2012, 03:25 AM
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Renting a GPS from a car rental company can be quite expensive, as they charge it per day ( most of them with a maximum of 10-14 days).
For this money you can buy a GPS in Greece,after a small research i discovered a Garmin with maps of Greece for 80 Euros
clausar is offline  
Aug 1st, 2012, 06:37 AM
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Thanks BlondeBrunette for the link - will look at my leisure when at home (it is blocked at work!). Have capitulated and bought the TomTom. Thanks to all.
littlejane is offline  

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