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I should have read ahead. I believe this is correct. And without the maps, which you get over the cellular network, the GPS isn't very useful.

To be fair, the vast majority of the time you're going to be within reach of a cellular network. When you know ahead of time that you're not you can pre-load your maps.

And I see that the new Google app for iPhone now supports vector maps, which is a dramatic improvement over the bitmaps they were using, including on their own Android phones.

Here's why:

"For example, while iOS 5 Maps would load Google's map tiles of the immediate area being browsed at a couple zoom levels for offline browsing (generally less than a 10 mile radius), Apple's new vector maps, once loaded in San Francisco, allowed us to browse an entire continent of high level maps (state outlines) while offline, north from Anchorage, Alaska to Lima, Peru and from Honolulu, Hawaii to Montréal, Canada,"

I don't know if Google has updated its own app for Android, although I can't imagine why they wouldn't have. Of course they may not be able to on older versions of the OS since there is so much incompatibility among manufacturers and handsets.
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