Does Google Maps Work With a GPS?

by G.D. Palmer

Google Maps has had a big impact on how people plan their trips and daily travel. In fact, in 2011, more than 200 million people use the Google Maps application on mobile devices alone, according to TechCrunch, and mobile mapping accounts for only about half of usage. With features such as trip planning, public transit mapping, and routes for bicycles and people on foot, this service provides options for a wide range of travel possibilities. It can also interface with standalone Global Positioning System devices and mobile technology to provide turn-by-turn directions.

Using Maps with GPS Units

Google Maps is compatible with some stand-alone GPS units, including those found in BMW, Audi, Infinit, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and some other vehicles. It can also work with deducated GPS devices from Garmin, Clarion, Pioneer, NAVIGON, insignia and Mio/Navman. Units must have either a cellular data connection or a USB connection and the Garmin Communicator browser plugin.

Google Maps GPS on Mobile Devices

Google Maps' mobile user share has eclipsed its use on desktops. Many people now rely on their mobile devices almost exclusively for navigation. Google includes turn-by-turn live navigation using GPS satellites on Android-powered devices, Blackberries, Palm webOS devices, devices using Windows Mobile, and a few devices that rely on Symbian S60. Users who want voice navigation options can download the Google Maps Navigation app from Google Play.

Considerations

While Maps integrates well with many devices, it may not always work perfectly. Some carriers or locations block data that is necessary for Google Maps to work correctly. When the service is used with a standalone GPS, it may provide only some functions. Not all units have full Google Maps compatibility; some can only receive business addresses or coordinates from Maps, rather than navigating using the directions from this service. Google Maps GPS on mobile devices usually works correctly only when the device has a clear view of the sky.

Google Maps and GPS Coordinates

While Google Maps relies primarily on street addresses, it can also use GPS-style longitude and latitude coordinates. This feature is helpful if you want to use a location from a non-compatible standalone GPS device or enter a Google Maps location into some devices. If you already know the GPS coordinates for a location, simply enter them into the Google Maps search box to locate it. If you want to find the coordinates for a location in Google maps, right click the location and select “What's here.”

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About the Author

G.D. Palmer is a freelance writer and illustrator living in Milwaukee, Wis. She has been producing print and Web content for various organizations since 1998 and has been freelancing full-time since 2007. Palmer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in writing and studio art from Beloit College in Beloit, Wis.

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