Thursday, 30 June 2011

How to use your Samsung Galaxy S2 as a GPS device

 One of the best "bonus features" about the Samsung Galaxy S2, as well as many other android phones is the fact they can be used as a GPS device. If you are somewhere unfamiliar then this really will make the phone worth taking with you all the time. Even if you are somewhere you know pretty well this can still be a very useful tool.

Firstly you need to turn on the GPS mode. To do this drag down the screen from a home screen to open up a screen a bit like the one on the right here. Make sure the GPS symbol is lit up (as you can see on the image to the right) and then go back to you
homescreen or application drawer and open up the "Maps" application (which will look something like the image to the left. The little blue on the maps application is "you" and as you move the little blue triangle moves on the screen.

In this example I've taken a screen shot (left) near ferry road then crossed over a bridge to "Promenade" on on the Isle of Walney. The GPS system tracked my every step and also shows all the roads around me that I may wish to walk down allowing me to plot a route.

Although this is brilliantly useful and really can help guide you around an unfamiliar location it does have some negatives. Firstly it does use your battery rather intensively so unless you're using it for a reason I'd advising turning the GPS light back off. Yes it serves it's purposes brilliantly but you really don't want to kill your battery when you're in familiar territory. The second issue is that is uses your mobile internet connection to load the maps up so it can also be very intensive and can, if over-used, be rather costly as well.

If you limit your use of the GPS system and the Maps app this is a really valuable tool and yet another reason that phones are becoming so key to our every day life. If however you use it willy nilly you will end up draining your Samsung Galaxy S2 of battery and running up a heavy data cost, so just be careful with it.

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