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Do phone apps work without a cellular signal?

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Do phone apps work without a cellular signal?

Old 02-28-16, 02:10 AM
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InTheRain
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Do phone apps work without a cellular signal?

I have endomondo as well as a polar app that came with my heart rate monitor. The route that I ride most often for fitness rides takes me to areas where I have no phone signal. Will the gps in my phone and the app continue to track my route and statistics without the phone signal? I have an edge 200 (doesn't work all that great) that will track my route, however, sadly the 200 does not track heart rate.

I'm sure there are some techies out there that know the answer to this scenario. I'm interested to know your thoughts. I know I also have the option of testing it myself. I've never used strava... I see it mentioned all the time - is it better than endomondo or some of the other apps?
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Old 02-28-16, 02:17 AM
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CliffordK
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Yes, but it depends on the app.

I run both STRAVA and RideWithGPS at times.

Strava seems to be much better at learning local routes and downloading maps. But, if you get in a new place, then it doesn't download the maps.
RideWithGPS will still work without a phone signal, but it seems to forget where you've been, so maps can be quite sketchy.

The ride data, of course is still saved for later download and analysis.

I think there was a big thing a while ago about Google Maps that allowed you to configure a local map cache. Perhaps that would also help apps that utilize the Google maps.

I know STRAVA will allow you to save rides, and then queue them until it gets internet access. I think RideWithGPS also does that.

Many applications also let you run the application without a SIM card, and only transfer data when you get a good WIFI wireless connection.

Last edited by CliffordK; 02-28-16 at 02:22 AM.
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Old 02-28-16, 05:47 AM
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I don't know what phone you have, but my iPhone 6 records GPS just fine in airplane mode, so no, no cell signal is required. Most of the places I ride have no cell signal, yet my phone is the only GPS I use for riding. It works just fine. I use Cyclemeter.
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Old 02-28-16, 07:08 AM
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Yes. There are riders who use phones with no cell or data contract to record rides. All communication with the web occurs when in WIFI range. One issue is that most mapping aps download map data in quasi real time from a data connection. Some aps allow downloading a mapping region and storing on the phone for use when there is no data connection.
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Old 02-28-16, 10:12 AM
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Yup. A friend gave me his "old" iPhone 4s a few months ago. I don't have a data plan, just a flip phone for emergencies. But I use the iPhone and apps almost daily, as a mini-tablet through wifi, for snapping photos, etc. The GPS still works to record location data on my photos and videos. And I can access some map features without a cell phone signal.

I tried Strava, Map My Ride and other cycling apps, but quickly lost interest. I just ride for fun and don't really care about that sort of info. However my map access is very slow away from home and I might get a prepaid data non-plan just for better access to maps while I'm out exploring.
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Old 02-28-16, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
Yes. There are riders who use phones with no cell or data contract to record rides.
Me. I have a smart phone but no data on a prepaid $0.10 per minute and limited text plan. I used Mapmyride for 2 years and last year switched to RidewithGPS. They record no problems and upload the ride when I get home and connect to my WIFI. Obviously you won't have a map to watch if you don't have a data connection.

I've used in the beginning Strava, Endomondo (sp?) My Tracks, and another one. All work just fine tracking your route and uploading after you get home to your WIFI.

If you are looking for a map to follow for navigation, there are a few offline GPS apps. I am using Sygic and just used it to navigate all over Pittsburgh going here and there. I paid something for it, I just don't remember if it was for better map downloads or to enable the turn by turn direction. I tried I think Navmii but didn't like it. I just downloaded OSMAnd which uses Open Street Map. This one is completely free. I haven't tried to use it yet.
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Old 02-28-16, 06:20 PM
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I reviewed Osmand in this post.
I've uploaded ridewithgps tcx files to it, and they work fine.

I haven't used osmand for bike navigation, since I have a garmin 705. Another rider on one of our group rides was getting voice turn announcements from his phone running osmand from his pocket. (it's kind of wordy, pre-annoucing every turn a few times as you approach.)
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Old 02-28-16, 09:33 PM
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Although you said TCX, I believe you mean to say you use GPX files with OSMAND. It would be very nice if the developers would make TCX files compatible as this would provide annunciation of street names when following a designed route.
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Old 02-29-16, 11:59 AM
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Yes. Sometimes I use Google Sky Map when I go backpacking to tell me the names of the stars I'm looking at.
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Old 02-29-16, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Yes. Sometimes I use Google Sky Map when I go backpacking to tell me the names of the stars I'm looking at.

Most apps will run and if the data is stored on the phone will work correctly if they can get a GPS fix.

Google maps goes to the internet for its maps by default, but you can download a block if you need to.

I use Back Country Navigator when hiking. You select the area you want to download while you are home and then those maps are available while you are out of cell coverage area.

MAPS.ME is the same thing, only for road maps. You can download state maps with routing info.

Best thing to do is turn off the cellular data and make sure it does what you want before you go to the boonies.
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Old 02-29-16, 01:16 PM
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So, if I use Strava, Endomondo, or RidewithGPS... will the app still show my my speed and distance on the phone even though I'm not on a cellular connection?... or does it just record it for later download?
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Old 02-29-16, 01:51 PM
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They should be able to show your speed and distance while you ride without a cellular connection. They have everything they need to be able to. Whether they're programmed to do that or not, I can't personally say because I don't use any of those apps. But it should work.
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Old 02-29-16, 01:59 PM
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Some Android phones I have had have been able to track your position without any service, provided you have downloaded the offline map for your area in whatever app you are using, while some other Android phones do not. Google maps used to let you download offline maps permanently, last I checked you have to re-download them every 30 days.
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Old 02-29-16, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Yes. Sometimes I use Google Sky Map when I go backpacking to tell me the names of the stars I'm looking at.
The free SkEye app is great. Just hold the phone up to the sky, and it'll show a live map of stars, planets, and constellations in that direction. Or do a search for a star or planet, and use the green arrow direction finder until the item is centered in your view.

You can zoom in enough to see the moons around Jupiter, for instance.


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Old 02-29-16, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by InTheRain View Post
So, if I use Strava, Endomondo, or RidewithGPS... will the app still show my my speed and distance on the phone even though I'm not on a cellular connection?... or does it just record it for later download?
Yes, it will show all metrics. If you don't have a data connection, a red line will be drawn as you move noting your route but it will be on a blank white screen because of the lack of data for downloading the map info. You will still see the progress of the red line being drawn.
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Old 03-01-16, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
The free SkEye app is great. Just hold the phone up to the sky, and it'll show a live map of stars, planets, and constellations in that direction. Or do a search for a star or planet, and use the green arrow direction finder until the item is centered in your view.

You can zoom in enough to see the moons around Jupiter, for instance.
Thanks!

We're thinking about a trip to the ancient lakes next weekend, I'll try this out.
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Old 03-01-16, 10:24 AM
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If you have an android phone/tablet, Sky Map is a decent app too, was formerly developed by google.
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Old 03-01-16, 10:42 AM
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The GPS will always work but you might not be able to see the trace overlaid on a map until you get back to someplace w/ a data connection (could be a coffee shop w/ wifi, could be rejoining the cell grid). No reason for the stuff dependent on an accelerometer to shut down either.
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Old 03-01-16, 12:11 PM
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Ride with GPS will work on a cell phone with the cell data disabled, I did this before I got my Garmin. On my old phone I would start a ride then turn off the data and i MASSIVELY exended the battery life of my phone, turning the signal back on to upload the rides when I was done. once I got a new phone, I continued using my old phone as a GPS unit, connecting to wifi to upload rides. You may not be able to see maps if you take it out of an area it is "familiar" with during your ride, but it will overlay the route onto the map when you upload the data.
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Old 03-03-16, 07:24 AM
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I use Spyglass gps app. It can measure distance, sizes of objects, your speed, altitude and potential arrival time to the target. And sometimes I stargaze with it, as it uses augmented reality and you can find any star you want. Cool stuff
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