Adding GPS to a Wifi only iPad

Submitted: Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 18:04
ThreadID: 139391 Views:701 Replies:2 FollowUps:6
This is a common issue that comes up, so for the interest of others I thought I'd once again provide the answer.

PROBLEM: WiFi-only iPad models (ones without cellular network capability) do NOT have an in-built GPS receiver, which means that when you are without an internet connection you cannot get location services to display position data on a map - even if using our offline capable navigation app ExplorOz Traveller.

SOLUTION: Your only option if you have a Wifi only iPad is to use an external Bluetooth GPS receiver. These are readily available to purchase for around $60-$250 dollars either online or in stores such as JBHifi. These actually work very well. Popular models are Bad Elf, Garmin GLO, and Dual Electronics XGPS.

MYTH: I can share the GPS in my phone to my iPad by using the Personal HotSpot feature. INCORRECT

REASON: The GPS chip in your phone is only a "receiver" and has no ability to transmit regardless of what connection services you have available (eg. Bluetooth, USB, Wifi, 3/4G). When your iPad uses your phone's HotSpot it receives data via an internet connection. The location services the iPad receives during that connection is broadcast from public HotSpots & Cell Towers and never uses the phone's inbuilt GPS.

WHERE DOES LOCATION DATA COME FROM?
GPS stands for Global Positioning System. GPS uses a system of many satellites that orbit Earth to send location and time data to GPS receivers that are on the ground. GPS receivers can be stand-alone devices or built-into Smartphones/tablets as a data chip.

But, there is also another system for obtaining Location data that does not use the satellite system and instead uses Wifi/mobile data and a system called AGPS. AGPS retrieves location data from local objects on the ground such as public Wifi nodes and Cellular towers. This data is available to devices that have Wifi or 3/4G.

HOW DOES A SMARTPHONE/TABLET USE LOCATION DATA?
Although many "Smartdevices" (phones/tablets) will have a GPS receiver built in it can sometimes be problematic as more than 4 satellite fixes are required and this is often slow to achieve. So, these Smartdevices also feature the ability to automatically detect others ways of getting position data, so in urban areas the AGPS is often quicker so your device will tend to favour this option if available (ie. Wifi or 3/4G required). NOTE: in your device Settings you will also have the option to select which location services you allow your device to use. A Smartphone/Tablet with a built in GPS will also know when the network coverage is poor and will then switch automatically to using the GPS via satellites.

HOW DOES A WIFI ONLY IPAD GET LOCATION DATA?
Since the AGPS is not available to the iPad when offline, and a Hotspot from another device only supplies internet not location services, and the Wifi only iPad does not have the inbuilt GPS chip, it fails to be able to get location data when offline. This is why you must get an external GPS receiver (usually connected via Bluetooth or USB) for your Wifi only iPad to get consistent location data when travelling.

If you want to read it put another way, this link explains it rather nicely too- How does GPS work on my phone.
Michelle Martin
Customer Support - ExplorOz & ExplorOz Traveller

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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 18:22

Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 18:22
Hi Michelle

Can thoroughly recommend the Bad Elf.

Will connect up to 5 units simultaneously and works a treat will last more than 12 hours on a charge, and recharges very quickly.

There is one catch, and it took me a long time to work out...

When you buy them, they are setup to work only with Apple devices, yet the box says compatible from Apple, Android and Windows.

After over 2 hours of hair pulling, I finally found only small yet simple setting.

Once that was sorted, it works a treat and now my main form of receiving GPS data for 2 onboard computers.


Cheers



Stephen
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Follow Up By: terryt - Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 19:51

Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 19:51
So should everyone spend two hours hairpulling or would you be willing to share?
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 20:27

Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 20:27
Hi Terry

It is easy and if anyone gets a Bad Elf, I am only too happy to help them.

If anyone knows me, I do not do things half hearted, and I have screen shots of the steps requited and a detailed description on just how to do it.






Cheers


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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, Dec 06, 2019 at 12:43

Friday, Dec 06, 2019 at 12:43
Hi Again Terry

If you look, I have a new Blog on how to setup the Bluetooth Bad Elf GPS receiver to work on a Windows based computer.


Cheers


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Follow Up By: terryt - Friday, Dec 06, 2019 at 13:14

Friday, Dec 06, 2019 at 13:14
Thanks Stephen
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Reply By: Dave B18 - Friday, Dec 06, 2019 at 18:11

Friday, Dec 06, 2019 at 18:11
Considering you can buy a decent 10" Android tablet that does everything with GPS built in for around $250.00 why would people bother with the horrifically overpriced Apple gear. The 8" Android tablet with GPS for $120.00 can leave one mounted permanently in the vehicle.
The Apps available for Android are more suitable for travelling.
I am always stunned Apple can rake in some many customers to pay for their seriously overpriced hardware, which is not up to the capability of Android in many areas.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Friday, Dec 06, 2019 at 18:14

Friday, Dec 06, 2019 at 18:14
Horses for courses really.
This information is intended for people that already have a Wifi only iPad - there's plenty out there. I take a lot of enquiries and you'd be surprised how often this comes up.
Michelle Martin
Customer Support - ExplorOz & ExplorOz Traveller

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, Dec 06, 2019 at 18:43

Friday, Dec 06, 2019 at 18:43
Hi Dave

Good to see you are up to date and know your Apple products.....

Apple do not make aftermarket Bluetooth GPS receivers, and the Bad Elf is a stand alone product, this is aviation quality.
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