Navigating with my iPhone and google maps

With our devices over a single cup of coffee!

My iPhone is an essential travel companion. I feel that I have my family and friends at my side whenever I want – without all the annoyances of their actual presence! When I’m out of the country, I need to seek out wireless internet for a fix once or twice daily, but that adds a little structure to my day.

I must give kudos to Mcdonalds for having free Wifi at every one of their restaurants in Australia and New Zealand. For us, a drive-through at McDonald’s now means driving into the parking lot and waiting while I download email and refresh any Google maps I need. Ronald M has let me down, occasionally. For example, we detoured specifically to get to wifi in Armidale, NSW, AND I bought a caramel sundae, only to find that wifi service was so bad that I didn’t get connected at all. What a waste of time, A$2.45, and about 300 calories.

I have “data roaming” turned off so I don’t get charged anything beyond my regular plan. When I can connect to wifi, I check mail and news, search any driving route on Google maps and thus download the relevant map. Then, as we drive, the GPS tracks me (through the cell network with no charge) and I can follow the pulsing blue dot along the map. I always know where we are, even if it isn’t where we want to be.

This doesn’t work so well for driving in the city, where quick decisions are often necessary, since the tracking is sometimes a smidge slow. That is when the traditional marital navigator/driver relationship rears its ugly head. I’ve mentioned this before.

When I don’t have wifi, in theory I could use bits of time to compose blog text. However, that uses up my battery, which I might need to preserve for navigating. I blogged diligently, online in Cuba, however, where any internet connection is awful. I wrote about 10 fascinating blog posts, to be uploaded immediately upon return. But my Gmail didn’t seem to be working properly when I returned, so I deleted the app from the phone and re-installed it. Woe was me!!! All my posts had been stored (“locally”) on my phone and I deleted them!