Sunday, October 2, 2016

Get Lost! Or better yet, don't.

                   Image result for using maps gps
by Vol-E

Two or three times in the last couple of months, I've heard from people who "just got totally turned around" while relying on GPS to get them to a destination. Their situations prove, in capsule form, why you should not rely on GPS to do all the lifting when you're trying to find your way.

Susan rejected my verbal suggestions on the phone for the best way to find my house. "Oh, I'll just use GPS," she said. But she sang a different tune when her GPS thought I lived on South K Street, when in fact it's North K Street, a couple of miles away. South is where all the drive-by shootings happen, and as she cruised up and down that block looking for my house number, all she saw were hostile-looking folks standing on their front steps, glaring at her. Unnerving, for sure. I'm only surprised she couldn't find a police cruiser to approach for help. Local law enforcement has taken up a semi-permanent position on that block, in hopes of curbing violence. She was extremely relieved when I talked her, block by block, to the right destination.

Joe and Joyce came up for my husband's birthday in late August. I had emailed the address of the restaurant where we were to meet, as well as the map from the web page. They could have taken one of two exits off the interstate and it would have been a pretty short drive along secondary roads to get there. But Joe was sure his GPS would take care of everything. However -- whoops! His Garmon lost its screen image. All he had to work with was the friendly voice saying "In a quarter mile, make a left at..." Apparently, it wasn't sufficient because I got the inevitable panicky-sounding call, asking if I knew where such and such a street was. And of course I hadn't heard of it. I had to hang up, get the map going on my phone and look it up. By that time, they had found their way to a main intersection that I did know, and it was just a matter of asking them to tell me if they saw a particular grocery store and where it was in relation to them. From there it was easy to talk them over to us. And they did get back home OK, though of course we worried.

Eileen and her kids hoped to pick apples in a rural town in the northern part of the state. She keyed in the address, and her helpful GPS guided her to the southern end. Hours and hours of driving, and no apples anywhere. Her GPS did send her to the right town...at least the name was right. But plenty of states, such as Georgia, have incorporated towns as well as unincorporated, unofficial "wide spots in the road," and her GPS only knew of the other one.