How to: Use the Nokia N95 GPS/A-GPS
August 16, 2007 by Don Smith
So you’re disappointed with the GPS functions on the Nokia N95? Is it slow? Can’t get lock ons or loosing your position frequently? No problem, this post will describe everything you need to know to use your built in GPS to the fullest.
- Make sure you have the latest version of Nokia Map Loader.
Why? Because it’s much faster than the first version. At the time of writing the latest version was numbered v1.1. The new Maploader software now comes with voice commands in 24 languages and the download speeds (both for maps and voices) are MUCH better (we’re talking max 10 minutes for a country, instead of the ~6 hours it took before). You can download and install Nokia Map Loader from Nokia’s website:
- Make sure you have the latest firmware version on your Nokia N95
This enables the new A-GPS feature making GPS positioning/locks much faster and more stable. At the time of writing the latest firmware version was numbered v12.0.013. You can find the complete changelog here. You can check your current firmware version by typing *#0000# when in idle screen. If you need to update your firmware, I’ve written an extensive article on how to upgrade your do this here:
How to: Upgrade your Nokia N95 firmware
- Download the maps you need
Run the Nokia Maps software in your phone once, with the micro sd card inserted. Now connect your N95 to the PC in Mass Storage mode (with the USB cable) or insert your micro sd card into a compatible reader and download the maps you require with the Nokia Map Loader application.
- Access points
If you have an unlimited data plan you should always use your GPRS or HSDPA connection (because it won’t cost you anything). You change these settings inside the maps program on your N95. The connection will be used for:
- Downloading maps that you haven’t already downloaded via the Nokia Map Loader application.
- Accessing (many) extra points of interests that do not come with the default maps.
- Resolving 7-digit postcodes like in England, otherwise you’ll only get a maximum of 5 digits. Or is it 4?
- Downloading navigational voices (you can do this in the new map loader program, however).
- Resolving address searches for which you do not have map data for (e.g. other country)
To use the A-GPS you will need to use a 3G/EDGE/GPRS connection as WiFi is not supported. You’ll find the configuration settings under
- Make sure you have a tick next to ‘Assisted GPS’ under
Tools > Settings > General > Positioning > Positioning Methods
- Choose the connection you wish to use with A-GPS under
Tools > Settings > General > Positioning > Positioning Server.
Each A-GPS server request is approximately 5KB of data, which is cheap even for those who pay by the Kb.
The mapping program and the maps are free. Nokia make money by charging you for navigation. You can of course have it map you out a route from A to B, and ‘track’ you all the way there. It won’t alter the orientation of the screen, that’s one of things that you pay for with navigation, and also the you pay to get vocal turn-by-turn directions.
There are no ‘default maps’. All maps are downloaded via the Map Loader application or over-the-air. You probably want to update your maps regularly, as map information is added regularly. This is even more important when using paid navigation (voice navigation) as navigational routing information is stored in the map data itself. If you have navigational problems and the turn-by-turn information isn’t working satisfactory this can be a solution as new updates will correct errors in the routing information.