Your GPS will not get you to my house!!!

Why in the world do people insist on not listening to me when I tell them this?

The conversation usually goes something like this:

Me: My address is 123 Mystreet, Mytown, Mystate. Now let me tell you how to get here.

Them: Oh it’s OK, I have a GPS.

Me: Every GPS device known to man will try to take you on a road that DOES NOT EXIST! When it tells you to get off the interstate at Exit 38, ignore it. Go 11 more miles to the next exit. It will find the correct route from there.

Them: Gotcha!

50% of the time, an hour after they were supposed to be here they still haven’t showed up. When that happens I know that they are on a dead end dirt road with no cell phone signal trying to figure out what to do.

When you’re on that road, the only thing to do is to go back to the interstate, head east for 11 miles, and get off at exit 49 like I told you the first time. Unfortunately, many won’t. They will wonder around the dirt roads west of town without a hope of finding my house and no cell phone signal to call so I can set them straight. It happens all the time. I’ve actually had to go find a few of them.

I’ve reported the problem to every mapping source I can think of, and yet they are still cranking out GPS units that think there’s a road there when there isn’t, and as far as I know there never has been.

Sounds like a combination of living in the middle of bumfuck and having some really dumb friends. :smiley:

But seriously, where do you live, in a general sense of course, where cell reception is that lousy and GPS is that blind?

I live in a town that has a population of about 1000. The closest place that could be considered a city has about 70000 people and is 35 miles away.

I was referring more to deliveries and services that seem to think they don’t need to listen to me. Plumbers, electricians, furniture deliveries, etc. Most friends and family know where I live anyway and those that don’t have always believed me when I tell them not to trust their GPS.

You can’t get to my place by GPS and about 1 mile down the road, all cell phones die out until the drivers get to the interstate. That’s because there are not towers serving that area.

Every GPS map database has some errors. The trick is to know how to correct them on your own unit when you run into one–such as to delete roads that don’t actually (or any longer) exist. Then recalculate the route on the updated map. Seems like people whose jobs rely on finding new places all the time by GPS would do especially well to figure this out.

I don’t know about others, but TOMTOM has a user correction feature that when and if verified will be offered as an update download.

Unfortunately, if you accept the updates from Tomtom, it also erases corrections you’ve made on your own unit that aren’t ‘verified.’ At least that was my experience last time.

Put up a sign on the dirt road, giving correct directions.

You should give out your location in MGRS/USNG references.

In Japan, addresses are typically given with a Mapcode reference number that you punch into the car navigation system and gets you to within 10 m of your destination. Which is great, because the actual address designation system in Japan was designed by a cryptographer on a weekend bender.


Each new tech introduction reveals a new flaw in human thinking.

I’ve been thru this with GPS devices. A few years ago we had a lot of folk in town for some events. For one thing, there was several trips to a certain part of town. Going that way there are two main roads. A 4 lane freeway and a 4 lane road with lights every half mile and tons of local traffic. So at least 3 times longer to navigate.

Guess which one the GPS recommends, simply because it was a half mile shorter, if that.

I kept telling people the fastest, easiest route. I wrote up and copied directions. Over and over people kept taking the route their GPS in their rentals told them. Some knew that they could switch their unit from “shortest” to “use freeways” but it would reset on each startup and they wouldn’t remember to set it back.

The result was waiting and waiting and waiting for people to show up. Big headaches.

I’d ask people point blank what was going on. They figured the GPS unit knew better than me the best route. They left my directions behind since they had a GPS unit. Etc.

I was riding with one person and they got really panicked. The GPS said take an exit and go left. But there was no left. They wanted to stop and look for the left. The exit was instead one of those 270 degree loop arounds. Jeez, just follow the ramp, there are no turns to take, pay attention to the road and not the idiot GPS. You are a human being, you’re smarter than it, figure it out. And still that person continued to consider the GPS gospel that could not be challenged.

(I am a ex-Computer Science prof and this is just a special case of something I’ve seen over the years: Computers are magic and must be obeyed, humans are flawed and should be ignored. An amazing world view.)

That’s an odd default setting. I usually see the opposite problem, GPS navigators that recommend highway routes that are many miles longer but theoretically a couple minutes faster (but maybe not faster at all).

It’s all a test, when we all blindly follow GPS directions without question thats when the machines will execute their take over the world plan. Mine regularly tells me to turn north when my destination is south of me just so I can get to the specific road it thinks is best but I know is clogged day and night by people turning into the malls on both sides of the street.

Resist for the sake of humanity!

See if you can set the ‘speed limit’ on that road segment slower, so routes calculated through it are less favorable.

I have long observed that your tools control your mind much more than you imagine. The more efficiently the tool takes over a function for you, the more you are controlled by it. Cars for example, force you to travel at a certain speed and focus on certain things, hence missing many others. Even a sewing machine continually pushes you to try to sew at the optimal speed for the machine, not for you.

GPS is simply an example of this. People trust the machine over themselves or another human being. That is kind of its point.

When I use GPS to find a place I’ve never been, I would have a very difficult time finding my way there again without it, because the tool led me there, not my mind, so there are no ‘tracks’ laid down in my brain. The overall experience is one of enforced helplessness, not a good feeling.

Yes, I’m a Luddite.

I run into this with Microsoft products every day. ‘You mean you wanted to keep the leading zeros?’ ‘You mean MAR99 is an account number and not a date?’ ‘You mean you don’t want the column dividers placed here instead of being where the headers say they should be?’ ‘But this account number has an “E” in it. How can it not be scientific notation?’ Of course when I make a file, I format the data correctly; but files that I receive from outside are often not. It bugs the crap out of me that Microsoft thinks their program knows what I want better than I do, and ‘corrects my mistakes’ automatically. :rolleyes:

I needed to get to someplace I never go to, so I put the information into my car’s built-in GPS unit. It led me down unbelievably crowded surface streets to a very user-unfriendly freeway onramp. I think it took me 30 minutes just to get on the freeway. Had I gone the opposite direction – the way I normally go home – I could have gotten onto the freeway in about 10 minutes. Lesson learned.

:: hijack ::

Hey Frosty how are you? How is the boat?

It has been a while.


:: end hijack ::

We have a GPS, but when I’m going somewhere, I’ll look up the route on MapQuest or google maps. I may even print out directions or write myself a note. I prefer to carry a map in my head - it’s the way I’ve always gotten around. Plus if the GPS dies, I still know where I’m going.

Of course, I can’t trust all navigation software either. I used one program once - can’t recall which it was - just to see how many miles my trip would be. I knew where I was going - I used to live in that area. Imagine my surprise when the program gave me a route that went past the exit I would take, then took me on a very long detour thru a town about 60 miles south of where I wanted to go. Not only that - it had me crossing a river, then skipping the next bridge that would have brought me back, taking me to the next crossing and into the aforementioned town.

Fortunately, I was able to force it to exit where I wanted to go, and it took me directly to my friends’ house, so I was able to get the time and mileage that I wanted. But imagine if I’d been stupid enough to follow blindly - I’d have added over 2 hours to the trip.

Don’t throw away your paper maps, kids!

Most units will let you see the whole route picture, as well as all the step-by-steps listed out, before you start. So, just like Google or Mapquest. You can get the general picture, and see if anything is obviously off.

Obviously, it isn’t enough to tell them the road does not exist. You need to tell them it leads straight into a vast pool of quicksand, and they will DIE if they turn there.

A family died in some snowbound California mountains a few years back as they blindly went past ROAD CLOSED signs and got trapped in a blizzard, so it does happen.

I used to live in an area that was so new, Navteq hadn’t been through it, so I was always having to tell people “Your GPS is going to either get you lost, or send you on a tour of the country. If you don’t want to waste an hour visiting the airport cargo terminals on the way to my house, turn it off and do this…”