Phone with No GPS

I’m new to this and one of the key issues I have is tracking with GPS, especially considering the new COVID privacy issues, using bluetooth/GPS to determine distance to other people, GPS to report if you’re staying within certain parameters, leaving home, traveling outside of your state, etc.

I want all of this to be private. Is it possible to do this with the Librem 5? What network do you use? I’m looking for a private map device where I can download them and use offline so I don’t have to use my phone to get around.

Any advice on this topic and what you offer would be helpful.

My advice is to use the hardware kill-switch to turn off the cellular modem, or remove the SIM card, or turn off Location Services…and to not spread the virus around. :slightly_smiling_face:

I don’t think the map applications for the L5 have offline/download yet, but hopefully soon. On Android, there’s OSMand, which can download and store regional maps from OpenStreetMap for use offline.

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Puremaps works just fine on the L5, although it is not available in the default repository… (I have 2.6.5 packaged and run it in the L5).
I still have trouble getting a GPS fix with the L5, but that is a different issue :grinning:

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I have Pure Maps flatpak version, and I notice that it retains my last-used map screen (region?) when I go offline, but when I search for another area of the world, it doesn’t pull it up. Maybe I’ll try your version.

But GPS does not transfer your data anywhere, it’s passive. If you only run free and trusted software (which is the case by default for Librem 5), you should not have any problems with GPS. Otherwise, you can use lockdown mode.


I know this is crazy talk but wouldn’t it be cool if someone could take Google maps and put it in a book made out of paper!!!

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Well, you can print out the map pages you need. :slightly_smiling_face:

GPS satellites don’t know where your phone is. They tell your phone where they are, and it derives where it is from the position of the satellites.
It’s the cell towers that actually track your phone. You can deal with this by putting it into airplane mode (provided that actually shuts off the modem) or using a hardware kill switch to shut the modem off (provided your phone has that).

So if you don’t want to take your phone with you, there are lots of products you can get for your car that’ll let you navigate without being tracked.
Unless your car has a cellular modem in it, which most new ones should be assumed to have.

As for the things introduced on account of SARS-COV-2, there isn’t a guaranteed way to avoid that. Checkpoints that need a QR code to let you past (AKA “vaccine passports”) aren’t going to be something you can avoid unless you can convince your government to ban them. They can be as simple as another phone or tablet. Saying you don’t have a phone won’t work as an excuse, as the plan is to have the checkpoints accept QR codes printed on paper as well. You can avoid the contact tracing by using a Linux phone or a phone with an AOSP custom ROM.

But for my own purposes, I would like a device with a color e-ink display that can read documents, store maps, and mark waypoints (ideally, draw on the map too), and whose self and power supply take up less space or weigh less than a book and some maps.

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Some ways that mobile phones can be tracked:

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You’ll be happy to hear that I have never been able to get a GPS fix with my L5 so far, then. :-(. Even after spending a full hour outside.