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Monday, May 2, 2011

GPS Can't Be Wrong? Can It?

You've seen the stories. People following their GPS as if it is the be all, end all of navigation thinking it is smart to follow Austin Powers' voice or some stranger named Bonnie into strange places. And bad things happen to them.

Please be aware. GPS units cannot:

  •  tell you when you are driving into areas that require you to be packing heat just to make it out alive.
  • substitute for common sense. HELLO! If you are directed to turn off a tar road to a dirt trail...maybe you should listen to your gut instinct and NOT GO THERE. Recalculate...
  • Know all the roads everywhere. Even updating them regularly doesn't guarantee it is right. Sometimes, I think the mapmakers like to mess with us. Turn right at the next intersection, go 1 block. Turn right again. Repeat. Continue on the roadway...didn't I just go past that Starbucks? Or is there really one on every corner?
Few more tips:

  • If traveling to Canada, make sure that you have a GPS unit that has maps for that. Yep, there's a map for that. I made the mistake of assuming that my new Tom-Tom had the Canadian maps loaded just like my first one. Boy was I wrong. Unfortunately for me, I didn't figure this out until I drove over the border and got about 10 miles out! See my next tip.
  • Make sure you have a map printed out with instructions on where you are going. Just in case. (See above).
  • Double check your address!! I got lost in Pittsburgh because I had avenue instead of street. Who would've thought that there was a street and avenue with the same name in the same city? But then I have heard that PA is really bad with GPS. Again, those mapmakers messing with us. 
I just don't want anyone driving off the edge of the Grand Canyon because they thought they could take a short cut!


  1. Granted I haven't used it extensively, but Google Navigation on the Droid phones seems to work really well. Plus if you go off the beaten path on your own, Google goes right along with you and starts giving you new directions.

  2. I really like the Google Nav too. Sometimes it works better than the TomTom I have. I still like my GPS unit for finding food and stuff...and since I am always on my phone, its easier!