Finding your way…

Something that I am hearing a lot is that very few people are able to find their way around town… just give them a handy dandy address, and their GPS will find their way there. Unfortunately, there are some issues lately from people who use GPS as their only way of finding their way around.

The first being misdirected on location. This is where there is a little bit of error on the GPS system’s account, and it tells you to turn when you sould have waited another 30 or 40 feet. You turn and end up some place completely different. Most newer GPS systems figure this out today when you do end up somewhere different, but still, it may take a little bit before it recognizes you are that far off the path you were supposed to take.

Another is misdirection because of keying errors. This is where the person typing in an address types in the wrong thing – usually missing a directional indicator like North, South, East, or West. In this situation, the person who was meeting me could have been on time but do to keying in the wrong address (West street name instead of East street name), the GPS took the person to a completely wrong place and they were an hour late for the meeting. When you key addresses in, make sure you have the right location because if you provide the wrong location, it will take you to the wrong location.

Yet another is not being able to follow complex highway intersections. The GPS is great at simple directions, but what about two major highways converging with two exits on the different ramps to the other highways? Then a GPS won’t necessarily give you understandable directions to get you where you want to go. This also happened recently to someone who stopped at my house – when they left, they used their GPS to get them home. First, the ended up going the wrong way on one highway, then turning around, they then missed the exit to the other highway because the GPS told them to “stay left” and that took them out of the exit to the other highway. Talk about frustrating. The person who did this has a good sense of humor but didn’t like the teasing I did when they did this.

So, some common sense on finding your way should be in order before you use a GPS so you can see if the directions it is giving you makes any sense. They are great tools, but there are many things that can go wrong. I have listed three possibilities that happened recently to various people I know. Stop and think about what the GPS is doing and don’t blindly follow its directions.

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