Egypt According to Nokia Maps & GPS

Sadat Station on Nokia Maps

You’re looking at Sadat Subway station, the major landmark closest to the hotel where I stayed in Cairo. It’s a screen grab courtesy of Nokia Maps and my Bluetooth GPS unit, which I did indeed use to navigate my way through Egypt, despite the fact that the there’s no visible GPS signal showing in the bottom right corner of the screen — ahem…

It was the first time I’ve ever used GPS in my travels, and I have to admit that the jury is out as to whether I really needed it or not.

Crocodile Island on Nokia Maps

Here’s what Nokia makes of Luxor — note that Crocodile Island is a landmark I added myself (it’s where our hotel there was). As you can see, there’s not too much in the way of detail. I kept my GPS unit running on the overnight train all the way back to Cairo, and the maps from my E61i’s built-in database were similarly sparse right up until we got back into the city proper.

Le Meridien Pyramids on Nokia Maps

Part of the blame should be pointed at whomever collates the maps for Nokia. Here’s my hotel in Giza, and the Great Pyramids — probably occupying that empty space to the left — are nowhere to be found!

But perhaps I had unrealistic expectations for GPS. It’s certainly comforting to have a general sense of where you’re at, but I maintain that the best way to get acclimatized to foreign surroundings is to walk in progressively larger concentric circles around your hotel. It’s worked for me everywhere I’ve visited with the possible exception of Lima, Peru.

By Andrew

Mobile phones, Linux and copyright reform. Those go together, right?


  1. AC:

    I read one of Neil Peart’s travel books not too long ago, and he wrote about problems he has with his GPS unit taking him down roads that don’t exist anymore or lacking detail. I know people who have had the same problem with online maps, to the point that when I’m verifying directions for someone at work, I confirm Google maps or Mapquest with the good ol’ Pearly’s or MTO road maps….


  2. Hmmm… Have you tried the Java version of Google Maps for Mobile — the new one with cell-tower triangulation — on your LG?

    1. ALL GPS receivers including those built in Mobile phones are Legal in Egypt strating from year 2009

      before that date it was only legal for personal use
      but any business supporting it was illegal

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