Saturday, 10 October 2015

Good Old Paper Map

I like GPS in its simple definition:
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based navigation system that provides location and time information in all weather conditions, anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. The system provides critical capabilities to military, civil, and commercial users around the world. The United States government created the system, maintains it, and makes it freely accessible to anyone with a GPS receiver. (from Wikipedia)

The term GPS used normally, usually means a GPS receiver or navigation device like Tomtom or Garmin. So while I like the system in general, I don't like the devices very much. As Teri knows from our recent road trip, I don't like having a GPS receiver determine a route and following its verbal/basic visual direction. I don't trust them, especially now that things like Google Traffic are using GPS data to first analysis traffic flow/issues and then providing route suggestions. That seems better than just GPS. In general I want more information than a computer generated route . I also want to understand the bigger picture and review my options.

Some people just turn them on and go. For example, my mom spent the last week at a rug hooking school in West Virginia with a friend. They drove back to the Brantford area yesterday. She sent me the following email:

Got home from an exciting and exhausting week "hooking" in West Virginia. Getting back took longer than anticipated. Never blindly trust a GPS! Luckily we were looking for a rest stop and saw a sign that indicated a Maryland rest stop. At that point we both said "We didnt come down here through Maryland". Turns out Jennifer had turned on the "no toll roads" button and it considered the Peace Bridge a toll road so was sending us home via the bridge near Kingston.

I need way more data sources than just a GPS, I also want to reference Google Maps, various tourist maps found in brochures, and even an old fashion printed road map. I like maps.


Sweeton said...

I also prefer a map. I had checked out the route on google maps ahead of time and the gps took us that way when we turned it on in Buffalo. Because it bought us down ok, and we were chatting and not paying attention, we took a while to notice the different route. I was also thinking that I should get a gps as I rarely drive with a navigator anymore. Now I'm rethinking that idea.

Anonymous said...

One of my favourite memories from our road trip is when the GPS lady kept telling us to turn around and go back to the "big" highway. Can't always trust those GPS devices. Last weekend mine didn't know about the road closures for Nuit Blanche. I also love a good paper map, but agree with your mom, when you're driving by yourself, GPS is easier.

- Teri