Although many of us have become accustomed to using our iOS devices to figure out where we are and where we're going, there are still iOS devices that don't have assisted GPS built-in. In fact, if you have a Wi-Fi version of Apple's newest iPads (Air, mini with Retina display) or an iPod touch, there's no built-in global positioning receiver. However, there's hope for you if you want to take your Wi-Fi iPad geocaching, use navigation apps in a car, airplane or on a bike, or set up a telescope far from cellular systems.
Bad Elf has released the GPS for Lightning Connector, a US$129.99 Lightning dongle that brings accurate positioning to your favorite non-cellular iOS device. How accurate? It can locate your position on the globe to within 8 feet (2.5 meters) without the aid of nearby cell towers. If you happen to be in a fighter plane and want to use your Wi-Fi iPad mini for navigation, no problems -- the Bad Elf receiver can work up to 66,000 feet (20,000 meters) altitude and up to 1,000 miles per hour (1,600 kph).
The receiver is a 66-channel GPS and GLONASS receiver that provides your device with latitude, longitude, altitude, speed, your GPS track, and more. It comes with a USB to micro-USB cable that can be used for pass-through charging of your iOS device, and a detachable keychain lanyard. Bad Elf also throws in a free upgrade to CoPilot Premium navigation software.
When you plug the Bad Elf GPS dongle into your device, it immediately asks if you wish to install the companion software -- that's an app called Bad Elf GPS. Once loaded, the app immediately fires up the dongle, shows that the device is connected, and then displays your current GPS status. There are buttons for upgrading the firmware, configuring the device, or getting more info about the receiver. The default app displays location and track information, an overall map showing your location on the Earth's surface (not zoomable) with latitude and longitude displayed, and an all-sky map showing the GPS and GLONASS satellites that you're currently locked onto. A detailed map, which uses Apple's Maps engine, shows your current position on a street, satellite imagery, or hybrid map.