View Full Version : Another GPS example of what NOT to do

12-28-2009, 02:47 PM
Couple stranded 3 days after GPS leads them astray (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091228/ap_on_hi_te/us_stranded_motorists)

12-28-2009, 03:43 PM
Great Piece of S***...gotta luv 'em!!!

Bet 'ya from now on they stop and ask for directions.

David A. Wright
12-29-2009, 03:50 PM
Their navigator unit was set to take them to their destination via the "shortest" route. It should be set for the "fastest" route. Having it set to the shortest, the navigator unit would tend to lead them down any cowpath that happens to be in the mapset database. And then they could have ignored the navigator when it told them to turn off a paved road onto a dirt road in the snow. It will automatically recalculate another route based upon their going straight ahead the way they were going in the first place.

I have a Delphi NAV200 and before I finally dug deep in the manual, mine was set by default over the "shortest" route. It would really irritate me when I was on a 350 mile trip once. I knew the route but had it in nav mode because I just got it and was seeing how it worked. It was telling me to turn on every dirt road and two-track there was off the main highway. I finally switched it off, because I got so sick of hearing that raspy synthesized female voice nagging me to turn on each cowpath 150 yards apart along the highway.

I later found the way to switch it to the fastest route, which will then make the unit stick to paved roads. Now I don't have the former problem any longer.

Since law enforcement mentioned the fact that their nav unit was set to the shortest setting, I'm sure they've corrected that and learned from it. And they learned that being prepared saved their lives.

01-01-2010, 11:48 AM
GPS is a nice supplement to topo maps & a compass....I'm more comfortable with a map & compass, after relying on them for so many years in foreign lands while in the military. Dad has a GPS unit we use to check against the topo maps.

Interesting side note: while participating in Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990-91, my unit was given numerous prototype GPS units to field test by manufacturer's reps, the dawn of civilian GPS units! Some failed to work at all, others were off wildly. Keep in mind that mapreading was an intense challenge, due to the seemingly endless expanses of flat desert & rolling sand dunes; very very few natural landmarks to navigate by. The GPS units of the time helped, but were still off by a wide margin. Fun to test though.

I backpacked with a buddy over the Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park in 2004; he is a GPS worshipper, and had his handheld unit with him but didn't have all the necessary maps loaded in it....BUT, the parts that were loaded, helped very much and it was nice being able to pull up camping spots, watering holes, checkpoints, and the like... I was impressed with the capabilities of it, and not having to carry a bulky map with either grease pencil notes (usually smudged) or post-it notes taped to it.

As for the idiots in the original post, it was obvious that they didn't double-check it against a map...I would never blindly trust a single source for navigation though, but then again, I like to be prepared.

David A. Wright
01-27-2010, 04:59 PM
I have a hand held basic GPS (Garmin eTrex w/no mapping capability) and a Delphi NAV200 (in car navigator similar to TomTom, Garmin NuVi, etcetera). I use these on all my trips. I use the eTrex for actual navigation; the Delphi to show me on the map where I am in real time.

However, there is NO substitute for trip planning on real maps beforehand to your trip. To me, it's part of the fun of the actual trip itself. I get to know the lay of the land by studying topographic and relief maps; I program waypoints into my eTrex if there are significant and important turning points or there is a confusing network of closely spaced trails or there is a landmark that I want to make sure I find. On the trip, I take along a good atlas and topographic map quads as a backup; because sometimes you have to deviate from your intended route because of conditions or sometimes the roads shown on topo maps are no longer there.

But, you can't blame all of this misfortune on GPS. Because:

* Before the advent of GPS, people got lost with AAA maps, Rand McNalley maps, topographic maps and gas station maps. People just get lost, plain and simple. And generally it's a lack of pre-planning on their part; or simple misfortune.

* Some people think technology is infallable. They put too much faith in their devices to lead them on the straight and narrow even though what they see through their eyes should tell them to turn around and go back to the good road.

* Some people are just gullible. Again, putting faith in their navigation device all the while their vehicle is floundering around in deep snow and mud until they get stuck and stranded.

So, don't blame GPS. It's simply a tool and sometimes certain tools are not meant for certain jobs. It's like blaming modern modern scientific brain surgery as bogus because the patient died due to the surgeon using a 99 screwdriver.

02-01-2010, 02:58 PM
* Some people think technology is infallable. They put too much faith in their devices to lead them on the straight and narrow even though what they see through their eyes should tell them to turn around and go back to the good road.

Unfortunately, this is true.

I drove with a friend who trusted his Lexus navigation system more than me, even though I had actually been to the destination before. It told him to exit the highway in order to get the the next highway on our trip. I knew from experience there was no way to cross the river and get to the next highway at that exit, but he followed his car's directions anyway. Once we got off the freeway it told him to enter the same freeway and continue on to where I'd been telling him to go. Sheesh.

An editor of cnet.com (a site that reviews all the latest consumer technology) died after following his portable navigation system onto a snowy logging road in southern Oregon. I guess he figured his Saab AWD could handle the snow to cross the Coast Range, but he ended up dying of exposure after he went to get help and left his wife and two children in the car. His second mistake was to get off the road and take a shortcut through the brush as it made finding him harder.

DO NOT blindly follow any map, GPS system, or any other navigational tool if your eyes tell you you shouldn't. Get some experience and then trust it.