From Wikipedia:

Some national radiation advisory authorities... have recommended measures to minimize exposure to their citizens... Do not use telephone in a car without an external antenna

I'd wager most people take this advice to mean don't talk on the phone while inside the car. However, to me it sounds like the above also implies don't use GPS navigation apps, at least not apps that constantly communicate with the server (e.g. for traffic reports).

Does this make sense? I guess it depends on the amount of data sent to and from the server?

  • 4
    Note, GPS receivers are receivers. They don't transmit. No, not even a little. I other words, this question is founded on a bogus assumption. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten May 1 '13 at 21:02
  • 2
    @t0x1n "Some national radiation advisory authorities..." is not a definite reference. Can you provide a more specific citation? People are picky about that kind of thing here, and it helps in evaluating the credibility of the specific source, – Paul May 2 '13 at 8:42
  • 1
    aren't we at capacity for cell phone cancer questions yet, every one has the same answer. – Ryathal May 2 '13 at 12:13
  • 2
    @t0x1n The radiation emitted by phones doesn't depend on what is being transmitted (voice or data or GPS): it is all data. – matt_black May 2 '13 at 20:35
  • 2
    If you're using satnav app, then your phone is somewhere on the dashboard. Which means two things: First, it's not next to your head, amount of exposure drops with the square of distance. Second thing, there is no metal to block the signal, it's glass which is pretty much transparent to microwaves. Modern passenger car is hardly a Faraday cage. – vartec May 4 '13 at 12:13

There is some logic here, but there is nothing definitive:

  • Any phone application that uses data connectivity which include many GPS apps. will cause the phone to communicate with the cell tower, and since the car is essentially a faraday cage, that will be in a relatively high wattage when an external antenna is not used.
  • The type of radiation is non-ionizing, and there is little evidance that that type of radiation is harmful - http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/faqs-wireless-phones#evidence
  • Where's oddthinking when you need him? He has a standard response to answers like this, but basically, you need citations here. This website is about eliminating unsupported claims, not making more of them. – Publius May 2 '13 at 11:23
  • Would you say that the data communication is comparable to voice calls, in terms of radiation ? – t0x1n May 2 '13 at 12:50
  • @t0x1n - that depends on the time of data connection and the amount of used bandwidth, it can potentially be higher, but is usually lower for reasonable use (which usually means when not downloading a video). This is due to data use being idle most of the time. A good indication is how much heat is produced by the phone (if not being charged at the time), since most energy is used for transmission (assuming no CPU intensive apps are used at the time) - if the phone gets hotter when using data, it is probably emitting more and vice versa. – Ofir May 5 '13 at 6:24
  • @Ofir I guess I'm trying to understand how the typical data use of a typical GPS navigation app (traffic reports, ads, new routes, etc.) compares to voice calls (and if this can't be answered generally, then specifically for, say, Waze). Will upvote when I hit 15 rep :) – t0x1n May 5 '13 at 10:24
  • @t0x1n - I believe that Waze would emit much less than a voice call for a comparable amount of time, since Waze's data use is relatively low - waze.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=20472 – Ofir May 6 '13 at 5:43

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .