Use of GPS in Spain

Old Aug 12th, 2010, 01:05 AM
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Use of GPS in Spain

In a couple months, I will be travelling to Spain (Madrid) and will need the use of a hire car. However, in checking for a car rental, I read contradicting information on the use of GPS systems in vehicles. Some say they are allowed to be used, but others including the Spanish Gov't outlawed the use of GPS systems. I am extremely confused and scared to use one. Is there also difference if it is a portable system (TomTom or iPhone) vs. one factory installed in the vehicle (BMW iDrive or M-Benz Command System)?
speedbrds is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2010, 02:01 AM
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As I understand it you are allowed a GPS, and are allowed to have it on, but you are not allowed to operate or touch it whilst driving. It is part of the same law banning handheld mobile phones
The fines are big -€200 I believe.

But if you program the GPS before setting off, and don't adjust it at all I can't see it being a problem.
Many built in systems don't allow for programming or adjustments once the vehicle is moving any way.

No doubt someone in Spain can clarify it properly. We have used our in-built GPS in Spain.
hetismij is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2010, 02:19 AM
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>Some say they are allowed to be used, but others including the Spanish Gov't outlawed the use of GPS systems.

This would be ridiculous. Why would any government outlaw the use of GPS system?

However, here in Germany, most newer GPS systems switch off their control interface when they detect the vehicle moving - so if you want to reprogram the destination you have to stop. I guess any Spanish regulations would be something like this - the driver has to concentrate on the traffic, not wrap him/herself around the next tree while playing around with electronic gadgets.
altamiro is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2010, 02:23 AM
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The fines went up recently but abort from that H's information is correct. You cannot use your mobile phone whilst on the move either. But that never stop others doing it, don't copy them.
Also note that if you are going to explore the smaller roads then do not rely on the GPS as a lot of smaller ones are not there in the system.

Each system is only as good as the up dates and the level of mapping. So who can tell?
ribeirasacra is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2010, 03:55 AM
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You can use a GPS, only that you have to stop to program it, never when driving (or you'll be fined).
josele is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2010, 04:27 AM
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Also while you can have GPS with pre-programmed speed camera locations, you cannot use a laser/radar detector/jammer, either incorporated into GPS or as a separate device. Even possession of such a unit is illegal and if caught, you will face confiscation and fine.
If you have Garmin (best in Europe in my view), just buy separate maps for Europe (downloaded from or as a SD card) and use it in Spain, instead of renting one with your car.
Alec is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2010, 06:05 AM
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I would agree that the quality of your GPS depends on how recent the maps are. I've used my own Magellan Roadmate all over Europe and it seems to know about every backroad there is.

As to the actual use of a system..seems you've received the logical answers in terms of paying attention but guess what? A lot of GPS for automobile systems have a beginning screen which very specifically states that you should not make changes to the system while actually driving or even look at the screen while driving.
Dukey is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2010, 09:29 AM
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Most of the mid-range rental cars in Spain now come with the option of adding a GPS unit. The more expensive rental cars come equipped with a built-in GPS.
Robert2533 is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2010, 11:13 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
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We were in Barcelona in May. We had downloaded city maps to direct us on foot, not in a car. Unfortunately, our GPS was unable to find the satellites the entire week we were there.
KenF is offline  
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