My smart phone cuts it great with no internet. I download the maps I need for where I'm going for offline use and get the same navigation features as online. Nice thing is when I am online the maps get automatically updated.If I wake up in an area with no internet and need to navigate to my next destination, a standalone GPS is my go to. A smart phone isn't going to cut it. The GPS is like having a Rand McNally road atlas in the vehicle from days gone past.
That's why Ford's OEM satnav is so good. Its pre-loaded with all the base maps and just downloads updates as needed. We have had zero problems with dead spots, trees overhangs etc., and its out performed everything we have tested it against over 12,000 miles and probably 3,000 miles of dirt roads and trails out in the desert, forests and canyons. I have to emphasize that nobody was more surprised than me to discover this.One consideration, if you're really after the best coverage even with overhanging trees, in canyons, etc. is to get a receiver that is both a GPS and GLONASS receiver. There are a bunch of options out there that connect to a tablet or phone via bluetooth, and can mount to the outside of the vehicle for best chance of a satellite fix. One definition of "ultimate" might be the best coverage, with an external GPS/GLONASS receiver connected to a big 10" tablet in the van. Another might be the built-in GPS receiver in your mobile phone--obviously the very easiest solution with none of the bluetooth fiddling or research on what the external antenna will receive. I've only tested "offline maps" on my Android phone, and never lusted for better antenna coverage, so I can't share any specific experience with different external GPS/GLONASS antennas for vans. But, I can report that the "ultimate" hiking handheld GPS I've used receives both GPS and GLONASS, and it seems to find satellites magically even in deep canyons while hiking/biking.
I have 2 different android units in my van. 1 is the 12" android rearview mirror. Which is a plug and play and you do not need to do much to get it up and running. Only thing you have to install is the reverse camera that is included with the mirror. If you do not care for that then it is pretty much plug and play with Bluetooth, wifi, 4G/3G sim card slot for data, google play store for apps to download offline maps, etc. The 2 one is my universal double din, which is a lot more work. Both are no brand name unit. I made videos of both systems. The link is in my signature.Wow. A lot of information here to digest. This whole GPS thing is a deeper rabbit hole than I anticipated. Part of me wants to go DIY and use a tablet or the "double DIN android head" which I didn't even know existed until right this minute. Kenny, what do you have for the android head and GPS receiver?
The other part of me wants to get a works out of the box solution. While I do usually enjoy the homebrew route I am buried in projects at the moment and have very little time to spare. I mean that literally, I am going sunup to sundown. If I was to go with a purpose built solution, any recommendations?
I always carry paper maps and a compass. Sadly the paper atlases are not available for all states but I carry the ones I have as needed. As an old fart in training I have done a lot of back country navigation on foot with a quadrangle map and a compass. Dream Girl is a total map nerd and actually looks at maps for relaxation, like reading a book. We also both enjoy looking for new areas to explore.
Rough location can be determined by your IP address, though in many cases horribly inaccurate. Rough location can also be determined through triangulation of the cell towers you're connected to - also very inaccurate.There may be a logical reason why a NAV app won’t work in airplane mode . .
My fairly new, high end IPhone came with Google and Apple NAV apps. Verizon is my carrier. I travel across the Northwest a lot but despite my overall satisfaction with Verizon, I do lose data and/or cell service from time to time. My NAV apps never seem to quit. If i’m In satellite mode, it will dull the maps but road mode works normally. I’ve convinced myself that the basic maps reside inside the apps (or on the phone) and the phone switches seamlessly to GPS when data drops.