Confirming your iPad model has GPS built-in or not / Essential settings for iNavX to receive GPS, show boat position icon with heading or COG

Article IX14008, June 5, 2015

If the iOS Settings icon shows Cellular Data you have (at least) assisted-GPS. Also in Settings, enable Location Services. Another quick check: imprinted into the surface of any 3G / 4G cellular device ever manufactured is an IMEI number; for iPad units, the IMEI is always on the back side of the hardware.


Some people buy a Wi-Fi only (less expensive) iPad model that does not have true GPS built-in. While near a known Wi-Fi Hotspot, this kind of iPad knows where you are on the surface of the Earth. But away from Wi-Fi -- fuggedaboutit! That's when you'll be asking "Where the Fugawi?"

If you are not sure which type of iPad you have -- does it have GPS or not? -- then here is one way to find out: tap on Apple's own Settings icon and look along the left-hand side. If you see Cellular Data then you are in business, you have a 3G / 4G model with GPS position awareness.

Cellular Data in iOS Settings

You do not necessarily need a cell company phone / data subscription; it should be good enough for Airplane Mode to be set to OFF and then the iPad can sniff out cellular phone towers in the distance and triangulate your position reasonably well based on that. However, if you are far out on the ocean, well away from any possible cell tower, then how much quality GPS data streams into your iPad depends on whether you have a newer iPad with a better GPS compared to some of the much older models. To avoid uncertainty, to really be sure you are going to get GPS regardless of where you are, you may want to invest in an external GPS. We sell one type called Bad Elf GPS Pro+ and there are other options as well.

Okay, now you know you have GPS available. Here's how to be sure iNavX can tap into that data and show you a boat icon at your present chart position:

  1. On the main iPad launch screen, tap Apple's Settings app.
  2. Tap Privacy | Location Services. Make sure Location Services is set to ON for both the iPad in general, and for the listed iNavX app in particular.
    iOS Privacy Location Services iNavX enabled
    With Location Services enabled, the iNavX app now has the enabled option to show your present position on a chart based on any incoming GPS data from any compatible source.
  3. Back on the main iPad launch screen, tap on the iNavX app.
  4. Select a chart for viewing that you know covers your current geographic position.
  5. In the upper-right corner, tap the Chart Settings (gray gear wheel) icon.
  6. Set the parameter Pos Icon Loc to CTR (center). 
    iNavX chart settings postion icon at location equals center
    Extra note: Conversely, if you did not wan to position an icon at your location, set this to None; even so, you could still GPS center on the chart screen by double tapping the Chart tab at the bottom of the screen, the chart will scroll to your latitude / longitude coordinates.
  7. Tap Save to get back to the chart.

After a few seconds at most, you will see a triangle icon representing your boat, centered on the chart. You may want to zoom in or out a little, as needed.

By default iNavX uses the iOS built-in compass to orient the boat position icon and the Compass banner.  This requires the iOS device be oriented facing the front of the boat. If this is not to your preference (i.e. the boat position icon is drifting here and there in a way that seems irregular) then you may wish to have iNavX make use of COG (Course Over Ground). Do this:

  1. Beneath any chart, select the Instruments tab.
  2. In the upper-right corner, tap the Instrument Settings (gray gear-wheel) icon.
  3. Scroll down to HDG (Heading) and set this to OFF.
  4. Tap Save.

Now, as long as your boat is moving, iNavX will utilize GPS COG (Course Over Ground) to inform the direction / orientation of the boat position icon.

iNavX with HDG disabled plus annotation notes about using COG