GPS navigation stories- do you have one?

July 30, 2010 at 13:27:05
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I personally don't own a vehicle GPS as we don't do too much travelling by vehicle, we usually fly to our vacation destinations. But I have a friend that used a TomTom, travelled from Tennessee to Panama City Beach on vacation. All went great right up untill the destination. They were staying at a new highrise condo, there were 2 new complexes with different names side by side.

Finally the GPS said that they had reached their destination. So they grabbed a cart and loaded up all their belongings (the wind was whipping in the parking garage) and took the elevator to the 20th floor. They found the condo number and put the key in the lock. The key would not turn.

Getting frustrated they tried over and over to get the key working. No luck so they went back to the main lobby and went to the front desk only to find they were in the wrong condo building, it was to be the one right beside it.

So, they loaded all their stuff and went to the next building and into the parking garage. There was only one baggage cart left so they grabbed it and loaded it up to the top not knowing it had a flat tire...LOL....so they had to wrestle it all the way up to the 20th floor. A real pain!

The moral of that story was, the TomTom said they had reached their destination so they didn't even look to see what complex they were in.

If I'm not mistaken, GPS get within about 50' of their destination at times. I found that out when using my GPS on my boat in the Gulf and looking for structures. But like I said earlier, I don't have a vehicle GPS.

We still laugh about that today, as it was hilarious. He wants to sell his TomTom LOL.
Can't say as I blame him ;-)

Some HELP in posting on Computing.net plus free progs and instructions Cheers


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#1
July 30, 2010 at 19:20:44
My story - and complaint - related to using a GPS is about how they tell you how to get to where you want to go, but they don't give you any details about the route the way a map can.

I decided to zig-zag my way back from my Mom's house a few years ago. It's normally a 310 mile trip if I take the interstate. I Googled around for some things to do along the way home and plugged the addresses into my GPS.

As I was heading from one way-point to the next I found myself going through a town that I recognized from many (18+) years ago.

It's time for a little trip down memory lane...

My wife's sister's husband's sister owned some land nearby and years ago had invited friends and family from across the country to camp out on the land and help them build a cabin. They were there all summer and people came and went. We camped for 2 weeks and my wife's sisters came in from across the country. Every morning the women would cook the men a huge breakfast and then we'd march up the hill to work on the cabin. Evenings were guitars around the campfire. To this day it remains as one of the most memorable vacations we ever took.

So anyway, on my way from Point A to Point B I suddenly found myself in this little town. I pulled over, called my wife, who called her sister and got the number of the couple that owned the land. I called the husband and he gave me the name of the road that the cabin was on and I plugged it into my GPS. I had not seen since the cabin since I helped build it.

The point of the story is that had I mapped the trip out on paper, I would have realized where the route was going to take me and may have been able to actually get together with the couple instead of visiting the cabin on my own.

In another instance, I took a scenic route that parallelled the interstate, planning on eventually getting back on once I got bored. All the GPS could tell me was what was the next road that would take me back to interstate - constantly updating that as I drove past it. It couldn't tell me anything about upcoming towns or anything like that. If I had had a map, I could have "seen" farther down the road, known what was coming up and could have based my decisions on that.

So, I now carry maps in the car when I take a long trip and refer to them so I know where the GPS is taking me or if I want to deviate from the suggested route.

We're driving to Ocean City, Maryland in a couple of weeks and I've ordered a TripTik and maps from AAA even though my GPS has already given me door to door directions.


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#2
July 31, 2010 at 00:46:10
I like GPS for a back up. If I screw up a sun sight or take a wrong turn, it's nice to know GPS is up there bail me out.

That said, I much prefer the overall picture I get with a printed chart or road map. Seeing a charted shoal or road runing off diagonally sticks in the mind; pushing a button to scroll to a waypoint doesn't offer that kind of extra information.

I remember a short canoe trip several years back. No map and no need for one so I fired up the laptop and found myself traveling on a road parallel to and about 200' north of the stream. When the stream bore off to the southeast, I stayed on the road. I imagine the fault was in the mapping program. Don't know for sure, but it was sure good for a laugh.

Skip
Audares Juvo


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#3
July 31, 2010 at 05:16:57
Last month I was traveling from Michigan to NC. My wife and I have had many tense times in the past when she, acting as navigator, couldn't tell me to zig or zag in timely fashion.

Our solution was to buy a GPS from Costco. I told my wife to learn how to use it in plenty of time for our trip.

All went well on the way down to Durham, NC. I decided we should go home on a different route because the Ohio turnpike had conflicting speed signs posted the entire way.

Anyway, the GPS gave us an alternate route instead of taking the West Va. turnpike. I figured, what the hell, we're on vacation. So I followed the route. I thought we would be on secondary roads for a few miles. As it turned out we saw every Appalachian coal mining town and went from 700 ft of elevation to 5500 ft. There were no intersecting roads to get us off this mountain road with hairpin turns. Three hours and only 50 miles closer to home we finally got to Huntington,WV.

We did see some spectacular views though.

If that weren't bad enough, at that point I decided to follow US 23 to Findley, OH as that was the straightest route home. The GPS insisted on wanting to send us west to I-75. Every intersecting road we came to yielded another plea from the GPS to turn left. I even stopped and tried to program the GPS for the most direct route. Still it wanted to send us to I-75 which would have been far out of the way.

We finally shut the GPS off.

I found the best use of that GPS is to find hotels, restaurants, etc.

While on the subject, Garmin program writers should be shot. The interface is not intuitive at all.

We did have maps with us too.


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#4
July 31, 2010 at 05:49:30
We live in a smaller town (Pop: approx 2500) about an hour and a half from the big city. Of course, being a small town, if we have to see any specialist Doctor's or Dentists or anything like that, it means a trip to the big city.

Now, both the wife and I have lived in, and driven a lot in, big cities so it's not like driving in the big city is actually new to either of us. My wife is an awesome navigator and I've been reading maps since I drove my first semi at age 18 back in 1981.

However, my wife does not like driving in the city. She can, and she will, if she has to. Meaning whenever she had a specilist appointment or wanted to go shopping in town I had to drive. Not a real big deal, I enjoy her company most days...........and most days she enjoys mine too.........LOL........you married guys know exactly what I mean!

But I digress.

She decided she wanted a GPS a year and half to two years ago (I've mentioned before my wife's a 'technofile' with a love for electronic toys) whereas I've never felt the need. I was actually happy about the whole idea because now she could go to the city without me. She was literally bubbling the first time she had to go to town and went without me using the GPS (her big issue driving in the city alone is navigating while driving) She was excited about how easy it was to get around and find places and how easy navigating was etc etc.

I thought, "Wonderful, no more having to run to the city for me and taking days off work to do so". After about a year, she starts griping about me never going to the city with her anymore for appointments. I pointed out I still go for shopping and such on days I don't have to work. But apparently that's not good enough. She likes it when I chauffer her around.................LOL

So now I go with her about 1 in every 4 times on weekdays just to keep her happy.........LOL.

Oh, 5000 km trip through the Pacific Northwest last summer (Wa, Or, Id - BC, Alberta) and we only ever used it while driving around in towns/cities we weren't familiar with as we'd preplanned the routes so we could camp each night of travelling.

GPS's are handy. More so for some folks than for others, but still a great little device.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#5
July 31, 2010 at 08:02:48
re: "The GPS insisted on wanting to send us west to I-75."

My Garmin 350 can be programmed to avoid highways (amongst other things). That eliminates - for the most part - the constant badgering to get back on the highway.

On the other hand...

re: "As it turned out we saw every Appalachian coal mining town and went from 700 ft of elevation to 5500 ft.

My GPS routed me to a State Park via a couple of Interstates for some winter cabin camping. However, it routed me back through every Appalachian coal mining town and went from 700 ft of elevation to 5500 ft. ;-)

Mid-winter, towing a trailer. White knuckles all the way.

I had not chosen to avoid highways, so I have no idea why it decided to cut the corner between the 2 Interstates. As I mentioned in my earlier response, had I had a map, I (think) I would have had the wife (OK, one of the kids) check to see where the GPS was sending me.


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#6
July 31, 2010 at 08:12:27
I downloaded a utility that allows me change what my Garmin 350 says to me.

For example...

When I don't follow the suggested route, instead of saying "Calculating", it says "Lost Again".

Instead of saying "Make a U-turn" it channels Mr. T and says "Turn Around, Fool".

"Arriving At..." is now "Yahoo! You made it to..."

I've considered changing "Right" and "Left" to "Left" and "Right" on my wife's unit but that would be really, really mean.


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#7
July 31, 2010 at 08:21:57
Oh yeah...

I don't have a CD player in my van, but my Garmin 350 has a built in MP3 player. I downloaded a bunch of classic albums and use one of these to drive the kids crazy on long trips. ;-)

I also have one of these which allows me to plug the GPS into the AUX port while camping, picnicking, etc.


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#8
July 31, 2010 at 08:31:24
We tried every possible setting to get the GPS to route us directly up US 23. No joy. As I stated, their interface is not, IMO, user friendly. Kind of reminiscent of programming a VCR.

I assume there may be some method to accomplish what we wanted but we didn't find it. I don't consider either of us to be stupid. Then why should it be so hard to program?

I really think that most users just follow the directions even when they are not the best route. As stated above the most useful feature is the find local business one. Even that did not perform flawlessly. I had updated the maps to the latest version prior to leaving home. Yet Garmin couldn't find a business when I had the correct address and the business has been there for years.

I bought Garmin because they are the only reasonably priced brand for the map updates. Others are much more expensive.

Also bought from Costco because of their extra year of warranty on all electronics. They were also cheaper than newegg for the same unit.


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#9
July 31, 2010 at 10:42:29
re: "As I stated, their interface is not, IMO, user friendly."

I won't argue that point, but I will mention that the features and UI's vary vastly from Garmin model to Garmin model. Some allow multiple Via Points, while some only allow 1. Some "learn by doing", others don't. Some allow an entire route to be downloaded from Google maps, some only allow the address to be sent.

Multiple Via Points (if available) is one way of forcing the Garmin to follow the route you want. Setting an Intersection as a destination or Via Point is another. Of course, with either of those options, you have to know where you're going and what Via Points/intersections are along the way. Now we're back to needing a map, as I've mentioned a few times. :-(

re: "I bought Garmin because they are the only reasonably priced brand for the map updates"

Just curious...Did you subscribe to nüMaps Lifetime?

http://www.garmin.com/garmin/cms/us...

I keep thinking about it, but I hate to be locked into the unit I have for the two years it would take to make up the difference. I'd really like a GPS with more features than the 350 (like some of the ones I mentioned earlier) but I really can't justify it at this time.


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#10
July 31, 2010 at 12:47:47
When I bought a unit with multiple Via points I got one free map upgrade. I haven't bought the lifetime upgrade yet because I don't see any immediate advantage. Also, I COULD still dump the unit back to Costco. They give you so days to return electronics.

As you said, in order to plot your route exactly as you want it you need to have information available that you may not have.

One other feature that I thought was neat is that you can usually know the speed limit on the road you are traveling. Also tells you how fast you are cruising. The unit and my speedometer were 1 MPH off.

The local stuff is OK but not nearly perfect. I needed a local map of the Durham area. Someone told me that Walmart carried them. The GPS first sent me to a closed Walmart (didn't think that ever happened) then sent me to a Sam's Club. The gas jocky at the Sam's club told me where another Walmart was. So much for the GPS.


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#11
July 31, 2010 at 15:13:43
re: "One other feature that I thought was neat is that you can usually know the speed limit on the road you are traveling."

Now there you go...That's one feature that my unit doesn't have.

As far as knowing how fast I'm driving, if I don't have a route planned, I can see my MPH on the map screen. If I do have a route planned, that portion of the screen shows the arrival time instead. I have to go the screen that displays all the trip data (Max speed, Avg speed ,etc) to see my MPH. PITA

My van's speedometer is a couple of MPH faster than the GPS's stated speed.


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#12
August 1, 2010 at 01:52:26
I have never use a GPS. There is one on my boat but it hasn't been turned on since I bought the boat. I drove a taxi for a while in Pensacola Fl., Panama City Fl, and Pittsburgh Pa. to make some extra cash. When I was in pensacola after driving for a while I started getting trainees. One of them was all prepaired with a poartable gps in hand. By this time I rarely used a map. You drive 2 - 3 hundred miles a day around a town that really isn't that big you tend to see the same places enough not to mention a great deal of our business is repeat customers. Anyway while trying to teach this kid to use the map books and street guides all he wanted to do was use his gps. I trained him for two days. On the first day that machine spit out the wrong directions at least a dozen times. I don't mean asking me to go a different route I mean showing the address in a different part of town. The second day it tried to tell us four of the addresses were one town over. The kid still swore by the thing. He only lasted a few weeks. People get tired of waiting for a cab that drives past them ten miles to pick them up. I hated hearing the bloomin thing too so I wasn't going shopping for one. I suppose they could be handy but I don't care for them. A map is like $2 what does a gps that lies cost?

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#13
August 2, 2010 at 07:46:39
I baught a brand new Mazda 3 and the only annoyances I've had with it is that its taken me down some very secluded rough dirt roads. It figures since the maximum limit of 100Kph is on that road it must be the fastest. Maby it would be if I didnt care about my car.

In my last car I bought a GPS and got it to direct me to a freinds beach house, I knew roughly the right area so I drove half the way and then turned it on later. MY GOD, it once again took me down extremely long secluded roads and I was charging along in my little 23 year old hatch back at 110Kph, at the end of that (about half an hour) It took me into a labrynth of winding narrow roads which you couldnt see around the corners for all the bushes. After that it went competely blank and I had no clue of even any close suburbs, thankfully after a minute it came back on only to tell me to turn down roads that didnt exisit, or to drive through feilds. It was like a giant maze, only every stretch took about 10 minutes to get down even at an angry 120Kph (close to the limit the 'ol girl could do). After a lot more swearing, realising I was doomed because I had no phone reception and none of my maps covered the area I was in, the GPS finally pulled through and I came out on to the road about 15 minutes from where I originally turned on the GPS, only instead of taking me 15 minutes it took me 1 and a half hours... very frustrating! Funnily, my car then broke down in the driveway of my destination! At least she held on to get me that far, the GPS was no help!

Mattwizz3
P35-DS3R
4GB DDR800
E7500


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