GPS is a free available technology to all users. Now GPS is just a signal from revolving satellites which give your electronic device such as Nokia N8 information about Latitude , Longitude, time, speed information etc. Practical usage of GPS to navigate anywhere on earth requires maps of the specified country. The whole maps of a specific country can be of really big size lets say starting from 100 MB for a small country to 500 MB for a big country. As the size of GPS maps can be quite huge, they can be used on offline or online mode. The Offline mode of GPS maps will use internet connected to the mobile and download the maps as and when required. However offline mode of GPS maps will store all the maps in your mobile’s memory (such as Nokia N8 mobile) and will use as and when required. The Offline mode may not require an active internet connection.
Yes GPS usage is free for everybody, however whether you are required to pay for GPS maps or not depends on whether you are using GPS maps in online or offline mode. Nokia N8 has an inbuilt 16 GB memory so you can easily download the OVI maps to your Nokia N8 mobile from OVI store updates, from a wifi connection or you can even download the free maps for your country from computer connected to internet.
In order to use the GPS functionality of Nokia N8 in online mode, you do not need to download anything and use the Nokia N8 to navigate anywhere in your country as long as your Nokia N8 is connected to internet. In case your Nokia N8 has the OVI maps loaded onto your mobile already, you can easily use the N8′s GPS in offline mode. The Settings of Nokia N8 also allows to switch on or off the Assisted GPS functionality. The Assisted GPS requires internet connection for a short duration of time to lock your position on GPS at startup. In case you do not have internet connection available or you do not want to spend internet usage for GPS functionality, you can switch off the Assisted GPS (or A – GPS) from the settings section.
Nokia’s OVI store provides a map loader application which can be used to download maps for offline usage. The map loader application provided by Nokia can be installed onto Nokia N8 mobile and can be used to download maps for offline usage from your computer connected to internet.
In summary, yes GPS is a freely available facility on your Nokia N8 mobile provided you do not use the Assisted GPS functionality and use the GPS maps (using OVI Maps or any other freely downloadable maps) in offline mode. Just remember that GPS receiver in your Nokia N8 mobile receives Latitude and Longitude from GPS Satellites which is free and then displaying the received Latitude and Longitude onto your Nokia N8 mobile has to be done by an application which can be pre-installed OVI maps, Mobile Google Maps, MGMaps or any other GPS Software and finally using maps in online mode will cost you internet charges (according to your GPRS connectivity and plan), using GPS maps in offline mode will not cost you internet charges and Assisted GPS (can be turned ON or Off from the settings of Nokia N8) will cost you internet charges (much lower as compared to that of online GPS navigation).