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ironass 12-11-2009 01:50 PM

Maps for Beginners!
Perhaps the title of this article is a little unfair as some of the blame for the incorrect setting up and use of the built-in Maps application can be laid at Nokia’s door for not explaining it thoroughly enough in their manuals.

I hear a lot of complaints from people that their Maps application is inaccurate or slow and lags, particularly on long journeys. Also that Maps interferes with their handsets operation when used.

The reason for this is that the phone does not usually come preloaded with map data.

The map data that you see is loaded the first time you use the Maps application and is only for a limited radius of your initial position.

What does this mean in practice?

Well, let’s assume you live in London and are driving to Edinburgh. Once you leave that initial area that was downloaded by Maps when you first turned it on, your phone then automatically connects via 3G and starts to download map data as you go. This means that your calls could be affected, your widgets not updated, Maps appears slow and inaccurate, your battery is draining and you are incurring data charges.

So, how do we go about setting up Maps for use on the handset?

For the benefit of this article and to avoid confusion let’s get some definitions in place:-

MAPS is the programme on your handset with that name.

MAP DATA is the actual maps themselves that show your route (like paper maps).

MAP LOADER is the programme that you download to your computer to enable you to then download the Map data you require, free of charge. If you are using Ovi Suite this is already integrated into it. If you are using Nokia PC Suite or just want to download Map Loader separately you can do so from here:-

So, let’s get started...

1. If you have previously used Maps or have upgraded your Maps programme (if not, then go to step 2.) then I would suggest using the phones built-in File Manager (usually found in the Office folder) and navigate to Mass Memory ( E: ) or Memory Card and delete the folder named “cities”. This contains your initial download and effectively returns Maps back to its starting point. The other file to delete is “qf”. Don’t worry these files will be restored in step 3.

2. Now for the initial setup of Maps. Before using the Maps application you will need to check that certain settings are in place. Depending on your phone (refer to your manual), these are usually found under Phone settings > Positioning. Ensure that Assisted GPS, Integrated GPS and Network based are selected. Now go to Positioning server and choose your Positioning server use setting, I use Automatic. Access point (this is your operators data service) and ensure that Server address is configured to then Notation preferences are your choice.

3. You now need to take your phone outside with an all round, clear view of the sky. Preferably on a clear day with no tall buildings around. A window sill, conservatory, porch or such like is not a good idea. Now, with the slider open, go to Maps and depending on your version of Maps, you may need to select “My Location”. Leave the handset to get its initial fix on the satellites and download its limited Map Data, usually about a radius of 30-50 miles. A lock on four satellites is preferable. This may take up to 20 minutes so please be patient. If in doubt it is better to wait longer than rush this step. Once you have an accurate fix and the limited Map Data has been downloaded you can then go to step 4.

4. Assuming that you will want to travel outside of the limited area that has been downloaded to your phone already you will now need to connect your phone to your PC and open either the Map Loader you have installed or Ovi Suite, Maps. Confusingly enough, if you use the Map Loader programme it initially asks you to delete your existing Map Data from your phone, using the delete button, before commencing download of your chosen Map Data. I would ignore this option as it is designed to replace out of date data.

5. You are now ready to download your chosen Map Data. Depending on your travel requirements you can choose to download a single U.S. state, a country or countries, a continent or even the world (about 4.5GB). You can also select the voice to use for navigation guidance. Up to now everything has been free and you could use your device with Maps as it is in a limited fashion for navigation and route planning.

Maps Booster

This application from Skyhook can be downloaded from the Ovi Store and costs 3. It uses wifi to enhance your GPS signal, particularly useful in built-up areas. It offers a quicker lock for the handset and since installing it I have found that Accuweather's "Current Location" feature works well, even indoors.


Maps Booster is now of dubious benefit if you are running the latest version of Maps, v3.04/3.06, as this includes Nokia's own Wi-Fi/Network positioning.
N.B. If you do download v3.06 don't forget to update your maps data as well.

I hope this helps and make no apologies for the length of this article as I hope it may solve some of the problems that people new to Maps are experiencing and may be blaming their handsets for.

Zyyb 12-11-2009 04:42 PM

Nicely put Ian! This should be a sticky as a GPS guide

rdcinhou 12-11-2009 04:48 PM


What is the purpose of your step 3 (getting minor download of data and initial fix) before using Nokia Maps Loader and getting an entire country?

I've done multiple loads, deletions and reloads (of map data, cities, qf file) and have had the antenna repaired and I still see poor performance (speed-wise) and poor accuracy (positioning-wise) from my N97 GPS.

I've done all that you suggest with the exception of step 3.

One item that seems to be a very poor design in their Maps application is it seems to pull the a-GPS data from the point-in-time that is over a day old rather than from the nearest tower that you are in communication with.

A poster on the Nokia Discussions forum says that the initial a-GPS file created with your first map load is critical and that you should delete and reload the Maps application data again-and-again until you get one that is accurate.

Does this sound like a very well-written program to you?

In the near future I intend to run some controlled tests to see what the sensitivity is to the different variables involved:

1. Is there still a hardware problem with the internal GPS? To test this...use an external BT GPS receiver.

2. Is a timing problem being caused by other applications that cycle-steal in the background? (Accuweather, Facebook, Messaging). The only way to really test is to UNINSTALL these applications and try running without.

3. There also seems to be a "feature" (or should I say "bug") in the Maps application that always seems to assume that you are on a roadway even though you are on foot or in parking lot. This would explain a lot of the jumping around. I'm not quite sure how to test this, but I'll start collecting data to see what falls out.

The GPS is the last thing that is not working to my basic satisfaction on my N97 so I am ready, willing and able to test this and share my observations in an effort to get Nokia pointed in the right direction to get it fixed.

snoFlake 12-11-2009 06:53 PM

+1 for sticky
Excellent guide

Ian to update maps (I've already downloaded full Europe maps in the Maps 3.xx rel) do you have to delete all your exisiting maps or is there a update feature (haven't tried doing it under Ovi suite)?

snuge 13-11-2009 05:56 AM

Just a quickie on the data used, I have a prepay N97, to avoid large data charges i have downloaded the maps i need via map loader, I have since turned off network connections as i already have the maps, I now feel i need a more accurate position so i was going to re-activate network connections, My question is how much data will be used if i use assisted gps when i already have the maps downloaded?

jApi NL 13-11-2009 12:55 PM

Assisted GPS cost 3-4kB , to get a fix . Right after you can disable the aGPS . So while Navigating only the default GPS is used .
When you haven't downloaded the Maps to your phone , you will need datatransfer to get the appropriate Maps . This is a big data consuming situation . Example : Google Maps .

:) Regards jApi NL

ironass 13-11-2009 02:18 PM


Originally Posted by rdcinhou (Post 447081)
What is the purpose of your step 3 (getting minor download of data and initial fix) before using Nokia Maps Loader and getting an entire country?

A poster on the Nokia Discussions forum says that the initial a-GPS file created with your first map load is critical and that you should delete and reload the Maps application data again-and-again until you get one that is accurate.

Hi, rdcinhou,

The information in my posting has been gleaned from 4/5 years of dealing with Maps, since the N80 in fact.

Most of that which I have related came directly from Nokia/Ovi Maps, including item 3 which I have always done on my phones since, as per their instructions.

Since I am no technical whizz I cannot explain why this needs to be done or how it works.

All I can say is that:-

1. On an unmodified N97 I am getting a quick and accurate fix and holding a lock. This not only applies to my handset but also to others that I have configured in this way.

2. Possibly the answer may lie in the 2nd paragraph from your edited quote.

It is difficult to compare UK and US GPS as I'm given to understand, by yourself I believe, that the GPS signal in the States is capped or dumbed down for security reasons. Therefore making it less accurate.

Also, certain service providers, most notably AT&T, do not have a strong/extensive 3G/HSDPA network. Again, this could cause problems.

One tip I came across, I can't remember where, was that prior to Step 3 one could do the following to ensure the strongest initial signal:-

Menu > Settings > Connectivity > Network > Operator selection... change to Manual.

You should then find, after the handset has searched, that you are offered all the networks in range, 5 in my case.
Now select any network, other than your own, and try to connect.
You will, of course be refused. Repeat this step 2/3 other times and then finally select your own service provider which will be accepted.
You should now have the strongest signal available for your location and can then proceed, after switching back to Automatic, to step 3.

I actually carry out the above about once a month as I am led to believe that sometimes mobile phones can "stick" to a given tower rather than searching, particularly if signals are weak. It also helps with "stuck" texts as well.

In conclusion, it wouldn't hurt to try Step 3, perhaps coupled with the above signal search as it cannot do any harm but I make no guarantees as there are other variables as I have mentioned.

Perhaps, if anyone else has tried the method I've described above in full, they could post their findings.

ironass 13-11-2009 02:28 PM


Originally Posted by snoFlake (Post 447103)
Excellent guide

Ian to update maps (I've already downloaded full Europe maps in the Maps 3.xx rel) do you have to delete all your exisiting maps or is there a update feature (haven't tried doing it under Ovi suite)?

Have you downloaded the the latest Ovi Maps prog, v3.03, to your handset?

If not, I can thoroughly recommend it. You can get it here:-

As for updating the Maps data itself, I prefer to start afresh by deleting "cities" and "qf" and just re-downloading the required map data.

There was, I remember, a Maps Updater app for the PC which I cannot seem to find on the Nokia site now, although it is available here:-

However, I could never get it to work I'm afraid. I don't know if anyone else has tried it.

Hope this helps. :)

ironass 13-11-2009 02:52 PM


Originally Posted by Zyyb (Post 447079)
Nicely put Ian! This should be a sticky as a GPS guide

Thanks Zyyb,

I'll leave it to the mod's to decide but it may save a lot of postings if it were a sticky. :D

snoFlake 13-11-2009 04:40 PM

@ ian

Thanks, no I haven't tried 3.03 cos phone's been in the shop for last 3 weeks (cam and GPS - yawn) 3rd attempt at getting them to do it right rather than reflashing it :rolleyes: . I might give it a go but can you install it not on the C: or can you unistall 3.01 which came with V20 I think. Only I'm a bit loath to squander precious C: having 2 maps apps on it (ridiculous isn't it) as I've had permanent space problems and I know I'll be downloading messaging and probably keeping messages on C: (if I can) becasue saving to E: keeps resetting every time plug it in to PC and being silly I've occasionally forgotten to reset which has been a real pest

ironass 13-11-2009 05:21 PM

Sorry snoFlake but it only installs to C: (good old Nokia) at 7MB and you can't uninstall the built-in Maps.

I have it on my C: drive which is much better for space after v20.

angiepea 14-11-2009 01:39 PM


I just wanted to say that yesterday i followed your instructions to the absolute letter and have successfully loaded maps to my phone with great GPS reception :)

I was going to try it out today with a little further than local travelling but sadly the weather is so bad here that i've decided to stay in ..... and i can make my own way to the kettle :D

Thank you

kontraband 15-11-2009 03:47 PM

sticky it is then... great write up Ian... cheers.

You might want to focus the subject line tho??

rdcinhou 25-11-2009 07:57 PM

Followed instructions to the letter. Still have the same old "jumping" and "lagging" positioning with 5-7 satellites reporting. GPS is the last thing that is substandard on my N97.

Maybe the problem is geographic in nature...i.e. data in the drivers for one (or more) satellite(s) could be off/typoed which is causing the problem for some but not for others.

My location is Texas, USA.

Anyone else still with GPS issues, please report your general location.

UPDATE: I believe the positional error, jumping and lagging is a pure software problem with current version of Nokia Maps itself. I have great response and great accuracy with Google Maps and Trapster, both of which use the internal GPS. The problem still may be "local" in that it could be a map data or satellite almanac data error.

rdcinhou 02-01-2010 01:02 AM


Even on repaired N97, there is a tendency to lose the satellite fix with the unit heats up.

This running hot/loss-of-fix seems to occur:

1. Immediately after being on a mains charger
2. During long trips where GPS display is set for continuously on
3. Charging on car charger while using GPS

Looks like an engineering error in the design of the circuit's heat rejection and/or lack of temperature compensation with regard to GPS processing.

Immediate workaround is to use an external Bluetooth GPS.

No wonder Nokia lists the Nokia Bluetooth GPS Module LD-4W in the Accessories listing for the N97!

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