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Properly using GPS is very much like religion

By Andrew Pollack on 05/24/2008 at 02:30 PM EDT

I'm down in MA today at a soccer tournament being played on 38 fields in about ten different towns. Finding all these parks and schools isn't always easy. The GPS is a real help for team parents. A few people who have them have still had trouble though. They see the written directions and try to half follow those and half use the GPS. It doesn't work that way at all.

To change from using maps and directions to using a GPS requires a conversion of faith a bit like a religious conversion. You must stop second guessing. You must stop trying to understand the reasons for everything. You must just turn yourself and your directions over entirely to the powerful force in the sky. She speaks through your GPS device and gives you all the directions you need. Just put your faith in the voice from the sky, and take each moment -- each turn -- as it comes. The less direct thinking about it you do, the better it works. Just like religion.

May Garmin look out for you and always see you home safely.


There are  - loading -  comments....

GPSBy Turtle on 05/24/2008 at 09:30 PM EDT
I long ago realized that the real value of GPS is in never having to rely on
anyone else's half-assed directions. No more "go down here a ways and turn
left where the gas station used to be." I call a store, and ask them their
street address. Half the time, they assume I am asking them for directions, so
they say, "where are you coming from?" and I ask them, "will that change the
address of your store?"

Then you discover they don't actually know the street address of the store in
which they work.
re: Properly using GPS is very much like religionBy Jo Grant on 05/25/2008 at 08:29 AM EDT
Unless, of course, it's about the journey, not the destination. Maps speak to
me. They give me context. They give me history. I can see what a place is, how
it got there, and how it fits in the community.
Sure, people can keep their lame-ass directions. Just give me a street address
I can pinpoint on an online map. But I'll take it from there.
It's not that I don't "have faith" in a GPS (although the first and only time I
used one it steered me wrong three times on a five mile trip). It's just it
doesn't give me the information I want to _experience_ a trip rather than just
traverse a route. :-)
Spoken like a single driver ---By Andrew Pollack on 05/25/2008 at 10:35 AM EDT
--- who isn't trying to get two kids on different teams to four games a day in
different parts of a city you don't know. ;-)
re: Spoken like a single driver ---By Jo Grant on 05/26/2008 at 08:52 AM EDT
Nope. Just trying to get to an airport to catch a flight home in a rental car
that isn't smart enough to have been programmed how to get back to home base.
:-)
Besides, I'm just saying what works for me. I'm good with maps. I understand
that not everyone is. I'm sure GPS is good for some people, just not for me.
I'm just saying if I had followed my gut instinct instead of "having faith" in
the GPS that day it would have saved me two wrong turns. (The third
misdirection was so obviously wrong that I didn't take it.)
That sounds to me....By Andrew Pollack on 05/27/2008 at 12:20 PM EDT
...like the infamous Hertz Everlost system.
re: Properly using GPS is very much like religionBy Bruce Perry on 05/26/2008 at 11:54 PM EDT
I seem to recall an article from the UK where the GPS system was directing
people down a defunct road into a stream. People obeyed the voice and got
their cars wet.

And there there was the mapquest problem in my home town. Ask for the local
state park and mapquest gave directions to the old town dump. The park was on
the shoreline, the dump several miles inland. Those who ended up at the dump
ignored many signs pointing to the park.

This happened more than once.
If it is the will of GarminBy Andrew Pollack on 05/27/2008 at 12:20 PM EDT
...that you get wet, you get wet.

On a more serious note - I've read the same stories and I've met people who
claim to have similar issues. I've never personally been able to validate one
where the unit wasn't misconfigured, or simply misunderstood or used
improperly.


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