73

If away from civilization (and I will count this particular instance as falling there), the real answer is to have either a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or a Spot/InReach device. They each have their relative pluses and minuses. A PLB is a small handheld (about the size of an adult fist) device that uses multiple emergency channels to provide information ...


49

This may be due to the long Time To First Fix. Indeed, I recently learned that recent smartphones use mechanisms called "Assisted GPS" in order to get a location based on GPS reception. The idea is that if you use your GPS in an area you haven't been before, the GPS would take some time to find and interpret the signal, mostly because of the slow download ...


46

Unfortunately the plane body does an excellent job of blocking GPS signal. In general if you're in a window seat you will be able to get a signal by holding the GPS near the window (or, for example, on a tray table) - but if you're elsewhere on the plane it's very unlikely you'll get a signal. The exception to this may be the new Boeing 787, which is made ...


40

Same as anywhere else in the world, in terms of the space-based GPS system and receiving the signals from those satellites. The main difference would be with A-GPS (assisted GPS) which can use wifi networks or cell towers to accelerate the location determination algorithm. The lack of these in the Mongolian desert would presumably slow you down a bit, ...


40

If you have a modern phone, you don't need to rent the GPS with the car. Just install a navigation app that supports offline maps (this includes Google Maps these days but there are others), and download the proper maps in advance. I usually have a second app as backup. The only minor inconvenience is that you need a mount (I use a cheap generic one bought ...


39

In some countries, AML (Advanced Mobile Location) will automatically send your location to the emergency services when you call them. However: This currently only works in 15 countries This may not work with all phones This may not work using all emergency services numbers It may not work if you are roaming One can refer to the EENA (European Emergency ...


39

I'm amazed that the answers here are all reliant on technology. This is a problem that existed long before the advent of phones, GPS and satellite communications. The real answer is that you must be personally responsible and do a bit of planning and preparation. Here is what they teach children about trekking/hiking in the UK and I assume most of the rest ...


34

Vince covers the likely explanation, but unfortunately there are several more sinister possibilities as well. Long story short, China's legislation on GPS is both really vague and in part secret: by some readings of the law all use of GPS devices is technically prohibited, and not a few cameras and other GPS-enabled devices go so far as to disable GPS ...


32

There are some things you have to be aware of. For example, you might think that it's enough to turn your GPS on, start your app, and see your position, as simply as that. Well, not really! First of all, the plane shields from radio waves, so you are almost always forced to keep the phone next to (even against) the window to get your first fix. The farther ...


26

Yes, there's an app exactly for what you're looking for, and it's called Glympse. You can choose to share your location, set a timer on how long that location will be shared, and send the details (it's just a link) to any of your contacts via text message, Twitter, email, a bunch of other messaging apps etc. What I like about this is that you can limit ...


25

I use OsmAnd for this sort of thing. There's a base world map that's not super detailed at the city level, but is certainly more than adequate for tracking the location of any passenger flight. It's also very helpful for having an accurate, detailed map of your destination before you even figure out how to get cell service after you land.


20

GLONASS system provides a real-time map of integral availability for the current day. Availability is measured as the percentage of the time during the day when you could get a reasonably precise fix in an open area. It used to be important a few years ago when the coverage was less good. This is how it looks today: As you can see, there's 100% coverage ...


18

Yes, but the signal can be a bit weak. It's best to hold it to the window to get a lock. Depending on the GPS device, some are able to "hold onto the lock" even if they are not facing the window, so you only need to have it by the window for the initial lock. You may or may not be allowed to have it in the GPS. Here's my GPS while I was travelling near the ...


18

In Google Maps, while using the App to get directed for example to rental car return, you can search for locations 'on the way'. If you click 'Gas Stations', it shows gas stations along the way, with the amount of time the detour forces, and with their gas price (if known). It does not automatically select or offer the last possible one as you asked, but it ...


18

There's a really neat app I just discovered called what3words. It encodes your location (precise to 3x3 meters) as three words in the English language. The statue of liberty is encoded as toned.melt.ship. If you were to call emergency services, the idea would be that it's far easier to give them three words that correspond to your exact location than to ...


17

UPDATE: TomTom now have maps for Iceland. As of their latest update, this has been added to the 'Western Europe' collection for many devices. TomTom use "TeleAtlas" maps, and in fact they actually bought TeleAtlas several years ago. As with most mapping companies, TeleAtlas has varying levels of coverage for different countries. For countries like the US,...


16

A bit more searching and I've found Vesselfinder's QM2 page. Getting closer, I've found Crusein Me Ship Tracker, which looks promising... And The Cruse Village has a Live Ship Tracker:


15

I am a (private) pilot, and have used my various GPS enabled devices for years both when I fly myself, as well as on commercial flights. (In the past, when they were not allowed, I applied for and obtained special permission from the airlines I was then flying.) Depending on the seat location, and position of the GPS satelite constellation, my reception ...


15

Disadvantages of cell phone GPS services: They rely heavily on cell phone and wifi access points for the initial fix. They are only as good as the maps on them; see for instance google maps vs. apple maps. It is not trivial to get other information (such as elevation) from these applications. They are primarily designed for urban areas; they are very easily ...


12

Yes, I did have GPS reception on my cellphone during a flight. However, it took quite a long time to get the initial coordinates, and I could not get updates on my location very often (the coordinates changed maybe once every 3-5 minutes). So I would say you would have bad reception in the best case. Maybe dedicated GPS devices would have a better antenna &...


12

Yes, Google Latitude! Ok, last year they merged it with google+, so now it's just under locations in that app, but it allows you to share your GPS location with other contacts or friends, on a pinpoint or city-wide location. It used to look like this: source But now, while still similar, is in Google+, and you can activate it as per the following ...


12

My GPS works fine when I'm off the cell net. Around here that means highways other than the interstates. Every national park I have visited has at best been marginal for cell service, generally no service at all.


11

Long ago I took a fairly simple GPS (coordinates only, this was before the idea of a GPS with a map existed) to China--and found it couldn't cope with all the tall buildings. In a large park it would work. Once I managed to get a fix with it sitting on a windowsill high up in a building but at street level with buildings around I never got enough ...


11

By plugging your latitude/longitude coordiantes into https://zvikabenhaim.appspot.com/software/ITM/, we see that they correspond pretty closely to your mystery coordinates in the Israel Cassini Soldner system, also known as the "old Israel grid" (רשת ישראל ישנה).


10

If you and your follower both have iOS devices, Find My Friends can do what you are asking for.


10

Jack of all trades vs master of one, and terrain Emergency Locator Transmitters are marvelous things, but the infrastructure to support a truly excellent one is fantastically expensive. As such, the world actually got together on something, and built one system called the 406 MHz ELT. Everyone uses it - ships at sea, jetliners, and hikers willing to ...


10

If you don't have mobile internet access while in the US you have to resort to offline maps or to the car GPS, because you can't download maps on your phone as you navigate. I've rented a car in the US a couple of times and I always added a GPS, because the roaming costs for mobile internet connection are very high, and I didn't want to buy a US SIM card ...


10

I'm going to add a 3rd option. Buy your own stand-alone GPS unit from a big box store in the US. Depending on how long your trip is, what data plan you have for your phone, or how much the GPS rental is from the car company this may be a cheaper option. Additional benefits of this option is that the device will come with mounting hardware, and that when ...


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