Before going on a trip overseas with no data plan, I need to check how well my Google Nexus 7 tablet works to geolocate me with just GPS + Glonass + GSM towers.

From experience, I know that just relying on GPS with no data connection pretty much doesn't work: Even after being outside in open skies for hours riding a bike, my GPS-only smartphone had a very hard time geolocating me, and wouldn't follow after it did, while it did work in just a few seconds when connecting to the Net through wifi.

So, I'd like to experiment while I'm still home: Is it possible to configure an Android device to have no data connection and only rely on other means to geolocate the user?

If needed, I don't mind moving to different ROMs such as CyanogenMod.

Thank you.

Edit: I found the reason why GPS wouldn't work even after hours standing outside: In Settings > Location, the option "Download GPS assisted data only over Wi-Fi networks" was disabled; Once enabled, geolocalizing through GPS alone works OK, although it works faster and better with the Nexus 7 tablet that has GPS + Glonass.

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  • This is incorrect. You can just use GPS without needing to connect to network. Otherwise, there's no point in using offline maps. Check also the related question.
    – Andrew T.
    Feb 6, 2015 at 1:22
  • 1
    Thanks for the link. Theoretically yes it should work, but experience showed that it pretty much doesn't work on the Galaxy Nexus: Like I said, even after being outside in open skies the whole day, it could barely show where I was. Maybe that phone relies heavily on AGPS to work, hence the lack of signal when no data connection is available.
    – Gulbahar
    Feb 6, 2015 at 23:20

1 Answer 1


Airplane mode should do what you want. If you want to turn off just the mobile or just the wifi, you can do that in CyanogenMod anyway from the pull-down notification-- just click on the wifi icon to turn wifi off, or the mobile icon (usually labeled with your carrier) to turn mobile functions off too. You can always pull your SIMcard to be absolutely sure you're not using your mobile network. If by the way, you want to use mast-based positioning/triangulation without using your mobile connection-- that may be a bit more difficult. Try using an app like llama which I believe uses cell towers signal strength to triangulate your position.

  • Thanks much for the infos. I'll experiment this week-end while on a trip in a neighboring country.
    – Gulbahar
    Feb 6, 2015 at 23:22

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