How to Use Your Wi-Fi iPad as a GPS when travelling
If you own a Wi-Fi iPad (without cellular capabilities) and do a lot of camping or travelling, you’ve probably found out by now that your iPad doesn’t communicate with the outside world without Wi-Fi or with a Hotspot to your mobile phone.
Hotspots May Not Help You Find the Best Camp Spots
As I suspect few people have Wi-Fi on the move, or at camp, that leaves the Hotspot option for many.
The Hotspot is good if you want to Google search or check websites etc – but, only if you have mobile connection. But, you can’t use Hotspot to share or find your GPS position.
These aspects of connectivity, are not generally strongly understood at the time of making a decision to buy the device that’s right for its intended use. Well, at least by me anyway.
Besides, buying a cellular capable iPad would mean paying the extra bucks for the unit – plus extra monies (ongoing) for the right SIM card plan through the right provider.
Adding Capabilities to Your iPad for a better journey
Luckily, there are a few options that you may like to consider if you want to tap into the capabilities of your iPad on the go as well as the numerous applications that are available.
SkyPro – my journey companion
For me, I have chosen to go with an external GPS receiver unit – Dual SkyPro GPS Receiver (refer gps.dualav.com). This unit talks to the satellites that are constantly above and, through a simple Bluetooth connection, feeds the GPS data to my iPad.
In addition to my iPad, I can connect another 4 devices at the same time.
Plus, there’s the advantage of adding more satellites to the mix with both GPS and GLONASS reception providing even more accuracy and speed – especially in built-up areas and in latitudes closer to the poles (refer: Wikipedia).
There are also other units, such as the Bad Elf with a Lightning Connector for the iPad (or iPhone) – all with GLONASS reach. As this unit uses the Lightning Connector, it has a passthrough connection that allows you to charge the iPhone or iPad while the unit is connected. For me, the disadvantages of this unit were that it could only be used on one device at a time and its physical connection to the iPad, while in use, made it a bump hazard as well as affecting my protective case and mounting options.
Expanded Capabilities with Extended Life Travel with confidence
Naturally, the choice is yours. But, I must point out that adding GPS functionality to another device to use while on the go is a real bonus.
Plus this SkyPro will be with me for a few more years to come and, I suspect, will see a few more iPad products in its life. So, the cost of the unit far outweighs the extra for cellular and SIM plans.