CNN Travel’s Jeffrey Weiss: Why your trusty GPS sometimes fails you. “GPS navigation systems aren’t perfect. Most of them are pretty good, but blind acceptance of their advice can become a traveler’s nightmare. … The bottom line: GPS is an amazing aid for the many directionally challenged travelers who nevertheless take to the roads. But it has its limits.” Via @gpstracklog (who is quoted in the article).
A survey has found that men are more likely than women to ignore the directions given by their GPS navigation system, Reuters reports: 83 percent of men versus “less than three quarters” of women. (How much less?) Gender issues aside — perhaps the difference is overstated? — that’s a lot in either case. People are clearly (and properly) skeptical of their satnavs (otherwise, we’d be seeing a lot more stories about people driving off cliffs), probably because of bitter experience: according to the survey, one-third of respondents had their satnav lead them one to five miles off course, and nearly two-thirds kept a map in the car as a backup. Via @Thierry_G.
Mashable has infographics from TeleNav showing what people search for on their GPS receivers, based on anonymous data from 20 million subscribers.
GPS Tracklog’s hands-on review of the five-inch Garmin nüvi 2460LT only finds fault with the “wonky routing” occasionally thrown by the navigation unit’s use of its historical road speed database. “With that caveat, the nüvi 24xx models may actually lay claim to being the top of the line nuvi right now.”
A driver got stuck in the snow for three days because she followed her GPS navigation unit’s directions, which sent her along unpaved logging roads in New Brunswick that were impassable due to snow. New Brunswick is one of those… • Continue reading this entry.
Via many sources, this harrowing Sacromento Bee article about the dangers of relying on GPS navigation in Death Valley. It’s already cost some tourists — already woefully unprepared for the conditions — their lives. Increasingly, park rangers say tourists are… • Continue reading this entry.
Macworld takes a look at 11 iPhone GPS apps, following up on a similar article from a year ago (that I somehow seem to have missed). Compared with last year, Glenn Fleishman writes, Most apps have gone through substantial revisions… • Continue reading this entry.
The last time we heard from Tom Murray, TomTom’s senior vice president of market development, he said that GPS-enabled smartphones had “no market impact” on the sales of standalone GPS navigation devices. It’s been six months. In a chat with… • Continue reading this entry.
Computer industry veteran Jean-Louis Gassée has some thoughts on the future of in-car navigation, based on his experiences on a road trip from Paris to Bilbao, in which the differences between a Pioneer navigation unit, a TomTom iPhone app, and… • Continue reading this entry.
“Is [this] where we’ve ended up, with a younger generation that can’t go three blocks without being told by a electronic voice where to turn?” asks Jeff Stricker in Saturday’s Star Tribune. Another one of those GPS-vs.-paper-maps pieces we see… • Continue reading this entry.
This New York Times article examines whether GPS receivers for cars will get pinched between in-dash navigation systems on the one hand and smartphones with navigation apps on the other. Via @gpstracklog. Previously: TomTom Not Worried by GPS-Equipped Smartphones…. • Continue reading this entry.
Reports of GPS-induced driving mishaps continue to take a darker turn. The Globe and Mail: “An Ontario woman had to be rescued from the roof of her flooded car after a GPS system steered her astray into an isolated marsh.”… • Continue reading this entry.
Stories about people getting into trouble because their GPS navigation system led them astray are amusing — at least until someone dies. That’s what happened in Spain on Saturday night after a man drove his car into a reservoir, where… • Continue reading this entry.
The Guardian’s Bike Blog reviews CycleStreets, a free iPhone app; it’s essentially turn-by-turn navigation for cyclists. UK-only, using OpenStreetMap data. Via Steve Chilton. Avenza has announced PDF Maps, a geospatial PDF reader (i.e., PDFs with embedded spatial data). Universal app… • Continue reading this entry.
This has to be one of the most spectacular examples of a driver getting stuck by following the directions of his GPS receiver: a van driver trapped on a “glorified goat track” in a mountainous part of Switzerland had to… • Continue reading this entry.
At the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin today, Navteq announced a new form of voice navigation called Natural Guidance: NAVTEQ Natural Guidance leapfrogs today’s linear navigation instructions — e.g. “turn right in 50 meters on Kurfürstendamm” — by guiding… • Continue reading this entry.
xkcd again. Oddly enough, I was like this before GPS: give me your address, I’ll find it on a map and figure out how to get there. People navigate differently; those who don’t navigate like this don’t get those… • Continue reading this entry.
The Ordnance Survey Blog on the results of their survey on driving and navigation: “Our results show that two thirds of the population admit to regularly getting lost, a figure that soars to nearly eight out of ten in London,… • Continue reading this entry.
First Darth Vader, now Yoda…. • Continue reading this entry.
Crossroads, a short video by Garvin Nolte, is a piece of installation art in which a driver drives around with 25, count ’em, 25 GPS navigation devices giving voice directions — a comment, says Nolte, on “the influence of… • Continue reading this entry.
A new Massachusetts law signed by Gov. Patrick on Saturday bans using a cellphone for navigation; standalone GPS receivers are still okay. In other words, using a TomTom device is okay, but using TomTom’s iPhone app while in the car… • Continue reading this entry.
After the U.S., the U.K., and Ireland, Google Maps Navigation — providing free turn-by-turn navigation on Android phones — has arrived in Canada and 10 continental European countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland)…. • Continue reading this entry.
TomTom’s senior vice president of market development, Tom Murray, doesn’t think GPS-equipped smartphones will replace dedicated navigation devices any time soon. “There’s been no market impact on the demand for stand-alone GPS devices,” TomTom Tom says in an interview; he… • Continue reading this entry.
It’s one thing to read stories about people who blithely follow their navigation systems and end up driving into a river or off a cliff; the driver feels stupid, the rest of us have a good laugh and mutter something… • Continue reading this entry.
It’s Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you), and TomTom is announcing Star Wars voices for its navigation devices (press release). Darth Vader is available now, with others to come later — but who cares about them? This… • Continue reading this entry.
GPS Review takes a very quick look at how navigation apps for the iPhone work on the 3G-equipped variant of the iPad, which also includes a GPS chip. None of the apps have been customized for the iPad, so they… • Continue reading this entry.
PCMag has a roundup of navigation apps for GPS-equipped mobile phones, reviewing seven examples of the genre. They include iPhone apps as well as Nokia, Android and Verizon phones. Via All Points Blog…. • Continue reading this entry.
Several Apple-oriented sites I follow have reported that Google, fresh off its launch of Google Maps Navigation in the U.K. and Ireland, may be about to release turn-by-turn navigation for the iPhone. That was based on the following line in… • Continue reading this entry.
Previously U.S.-only, Google Maps Navigation is now available in the U.K. and Ireland on Android phones. Jemima Kiss of the Grauniad’s PDA blog runs it through its paces. This being satellite navigation in Britain, hilarity is predestined to ensue. Here’s… • Continue reading this entry.
Google Maps announces driving directions for 111 new countries, largely in Africa, central Asia, Central and South America, and island countries around the world (from Aruba to Vanuatu)…. • Continue reading this entry.
I drove to Toronto and back over the weekend. I knew the way, but I used my Garmin nüvi 255W (see previous entry) to navigate. Of course, there were some quirks. I have the following observations about what it… • Continue reading this entry.
In last Sunday’s episode of The Simpsons, Homer got a GPS. I think you can figure out how that went. Via GPS Tracklog…. • Continue reading this entry.
Engadget does a head-to-head comparison of three GPS smartphone navigation systems: Google Navigation, Ovi Maps, and VZ Navigator. So which is the nav for you? There’s zero platform overlap here, so if you already have a smartphone in your pocket… • Continue reading this entry.
Another one of these stories: following their SUV’s navigation system, a couple got stuck in the snow on a remote forest road in eastern Oregon for three days (fortunately, they had warm clothes), until the atmospherics cleared up enough for… • Continue reading this entry.
Peter Batty weighs in on the quality of Google’s new, homegrown map data: As anyone in the geo world knows, all maps have errors, and it’s hard to do a really rigorous analysis on Google’s current dataset versus others. But… • Continue reading this entry.
Steven Citron-Pousty wonders whether Google dropped Tele Atlas before their own data was ready. “Google’s routing data sucks right now and there are no two ways about it.” Via Peter. Previously: Google Stops Using Tele Atlas in the U.S…. • Continue reading this entry.
Much of the reaction to Google Maps Navigation for Android devices (previously) focuses on its impact on the GPS industry. The Washington Post’s Rob Pegoraro sees the Google Maps Navigation announcement in the context of whether Google is becoming the… • Continue reading this entry.
Google announced Google Maps Navigation for Android 2.0 today — turn-by-turn navigation for Google Maps running on Android smartphones, using the phones’ Internet connection to fetch up-to-date map, direction and traffic data. Also satellite imagery and Street View. Also, it’s… • Continue reading this entry.
Doing exactly what your car’s GPS tells you to is not only not an excuse, it’s also not a legal defence. A 43-year-old British man who followed his GPS’s directions to the edge of a cliff earlier this year has… • Continue reading this entry.
A study sponsored by Navteq argues that having a GPS navigation system with real-time traffic data lets drivers spend less time behind the wheel — between two and a half to four days a year, depending on the country —… • Continue reading this entry.
Remember how I mentioned that iPhone navigation applications were expensive? Apparently, TomTom for iPhone will run close to $200 — but that’s including the hardware (a cradle to charge the iPhone and improve GPS reception) as well as the software…. • Continue reading this entry.
Note to GPS users: if you make a typo putting in your destination — say, typing in “Carpi” when you mean “Capri” — you’re on your own. Just ask the Swedish tourists who went 650 km in the wrong direction… • Continue reading this entry.
The National Post’s Peter Kenter bemoans the passing of the skilled road navigator, from an era when “a driver or a passenger who was particularly skilled at reading maps was an important asset on any road trip. Born with an… • Continue reading this entry.
Hot on the heels of their review of AT&T Navigator for iPhone (see previous entry), GPS Review has a review of the North American version of Navigon MobileNavigator for iPhone. The notable difference between the two: Navigon’s app stores maps… • Continue reading this entry.
GPS Review has a huge, in-depth review of AT&T Navigator for iPhone, which costs $10/month and downloads its maps over a network connection. The latter point has some positive and negative implications: [T]his means that the application relies on network… • Continue reading this entry.
Everyone is pointing to the last paragraph of Emily Yoffe’s piece in The Washington Post about the perils of using a GPS, but there’s plenty of cringeworthy detail before that about the impact of being led astray by your dashboard… • Continue reading this entry.
BusinessWeek’s Stephen Wildstrom explains why iPhone navigation applications are so expensive: [Y]ou need a source of maps and a data base of directions, driving instructions, and points of interest. There are two main sources of maps, Navteq (owned by Nokia)… • Continue reading this entry.
TomTom isn’t the only company with forthcoming turn-by-turn navigation software for the iPhone (see previous entry); AppleInsider reports that both Navigon and TeleNav have iPhone applications in development. Via All Points Blog…. • Continue reading this entry.
There was, you may have heard, some news about a new iPhone yesterday; over on O’Reilly Radar, Brady Forrest sums up the geotechnology implications of the new iPhone 3GS and iPhone OS 3.0, including the ability of the web browser… • Continue reading this entry.
Apropos of the whole OMG-GPS-is-going-to-fail thing, the Grauniad’s Tim Dowling has some advice for drivers who might suddenly have to do without their in-car navigation systems, in the form of a FAQ for paper maps. Some examples: I need to… • Continue reading this entry.
Apart from some rather obscure industry in-jokes and an atrocious pun, the focus of this year’s geospatial-industry silliness seems to be Google Street View and its impact on privacy. Google Earth Blog announces that the next-generation Street View will include… • Continue reading this entry.
The latest instance of sat-nav Schadenfreude — the media having fun at the expense of some poor fool who followed his dashboard GPS’s directions to the letter and ended up in trouble — involves a 43-year-old British man (of course)… • Continue reading this entry.
Charles Cooper on his experience getting lost with an in-car GPS: “Garmin sells a simple and reliable device. Unfortunately, it doesn’t relieve you of the responsibility for using your brain. A certain somebody (no names, here) had programmed the device… • Continue reading this entry.
A survey of its members by the British Automobile Association (AA) revealed some interesting attitudes towards car-based GPS navigation devices (which in the U.K. are referred to as “satnav”). Some highlights: 61 percent agreed that their GPS had prevented them… • Continue reading this entry.
Earlier (yes, I know I’m late), Web comic xkcd had some fun with driving directions — the printed-out-from-Google-Maps sort. Via Very Spatial and Google Maps Mania. Still earlier (would it kill Randall to use datestamps?), how about this take… • Continue reading this entry.
A couple of thoughts on the Rental Car Rally, which ran earlier this month between New York and Montreal. First, here’s CNet’s Caroline McCarthy’s take on the event: The surprising truth? A large number of the driving squads had nothing… • Continue reading this entry.
Both Google Maps and Yahoo Maps got refreshed last week: Google’s interface was rejigged to reduce clutter (oddly, I get the old interface when I load maps.google.com, but the new interface when I load maps.google.ca — localization bug?); Yahoo’s interface… • Continue reading this entry.
Reader’s Digest organized a race from one end of Britain to the other, with each of three teams using a different means of navigation. The Scotsman reports on the results: “The race was won by a team relying on road… • Continue reading this entry.
A few quick map and map-related gems to share with you: Claire showcases another collection of map tattoos. Indiana Jones and the Fonts on the Maps: Mark Simonson notes that the maps used in the Indiana Jones movies are anachronistic…. • Continue reading this entry.
The problem with the ABC News article entitled “Will GPS Make Us Dumb?” is that it makes a false juxtaposition: map-reading skills with navigation devices’ turn-by-turn directions: “One effect of an increased dependence on GPS will be that peoples’ ability… • Continue reading this entry.
Alan Taylor: “I set out to find the longest distance for which Google Maps would give Driving Directions. Now that they’ve shut down the fun ‘swim the Atlantic’ feature, things have changed a bit. It turns out there are multiple… • Continue reading this entry.
GPS Review has a clip from an episode of (the U.S. version of) The Office that satirizes the news stories about GPS-navigation-related accidents…. • Continue reading this entry.
“GPS units are like friends with personality quirks that sometimes can be hard to figure,” writes Bob Karlovits in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “They know all the answers. They are insistent on telling you them. They never admit to being wrong.”… • Continue reading this entry.
Computerworld’s David Ramel sums up the rash of stories about drivers getting into trouble by (blindly) following directions from their GPS navigation device. “These things actually seem to happen fairly often,” he writes. “For some reason, most of them occur… • Continue reading this entry.
Via Spatial Law, an interesting question about GPS navigation and legal liability: if somebody who follows faulty directions from a GPS navigation system gets into an accident, and is held liable for that accident (as has in fact occurred), can… • Continue reading this entry.
A few links to news stories to tide you over during the holidays: The Montreal Gazette on OpenStreetMap The Chicago Tribune on map collecting The Times rambles about the technology behind in-car navigation devices I’ll be off for about a… • Continue reading this entry.
Yahoo follows Google’s lead, adding user-adjustable driving directions with a click-and-drag interface. Now that I’ve this feature for a while, I now consider it essential, especially when you have some sense of what the best route will be for at… • Continue reading this entry.
Sure, stories about drivers getting into trouble because they blindly obey their GPS navigation stories are fun, but, as I mentioned in a previous entry, you can’t help but wonder about the bigger picture — i.e., why is this happening?… • Continue reading this entry.
It’s more of the same: truck drivers sent down narrow streets in Llangadog, Wales, by their satellite-navigation systems are crashing into buildings. Via Engadget. This is happening too often to fall under the “random idiot” section of the news, however… • Continue reading this entry.
I am required to report the following item from the Daily Mail: “A lorry driver who was led off course by his sat nav got his HGV [heavy goods vehicle] so tightly wedged in a narrow country lane he had… • Continue reading this entry.
Sky News: “New signs are warning motorists to ignore their sat-navs on narrow Welsh lanes — but drivers may have a tricky time working out the symbols on the design.” You think? Four signs have been erected in a… • Continue reading this entry.
Author, blogger and adult filmmaker Audacia Ray, writing about her road trip to LA, has this to say about in-dash GPS systems: I like not having maps crumpled up on the floor of my car, or misfolded in my bag… • Continue reading this entry.
Travel blog Gadling has a post warning against blind faith in the directions given by a GPS navigation system — a subject near and dear to my heart, as previous entries will attest. The latest example comes from Italy, where… • Continue reading this entry.
The driving directions feature on Google Maps has just received a major upgrade. Multiple stops and traffic conditions have (apparently) been added, but the big one is that you can now change the route you’re given to your destination… • Continue reading this entry.
Nicholas Forbes writes with an interesting question about why people follow bad directions — covered here ad nauseaum — that is above my pay grade: I am a Ph.D. student at the University of Nottingham UK. I have been running… • Continue reading this entry.
Google Transit adds Reno and San Diego; I must have missed when they added the Japanese rail networks, domestic airlines and ferries. Google Maps for mobile supports GPS on certain devices — for example, the BlackBerry 8800 and some Windows… • Continue reading this entry.
Some more material about updating road data after disasters that I missed the first time around (and am only getting to now). Via Mapping Hacks, a San Francisco Chronicle article that discussed updating driving directions in the wake of… • Continue reading this entry.
And this is exactly the sort of thing I was on about before: trusting her GPS navigation system implicitly, a British woman drives onto the tracks; while closing the level crossing gate (first clue) behind her, her car is hit… • Continue reading this entry.
Three weeks ago, I was contacted by a writer for iPass who was working on an article about the accuracy of driving directions on online mapping sites. I provided some pithy comments. Her article is now online and to my… • Continue reading this entry.
This week has revealed a lot about how the online mapping sites respond to disasters that close major routes and affect driving directions. Within two days of the MacArthur Maze freeway collapse in Oakland, Google Maps, Yahoo Maps and MapQuest… • Continue reading this entry.
Security experts — who, to be fair, have an interest in crying wolf — warn that hackers can use off-the-shelf equipment to send messages to car navigation systems using the FM channel for traffic and weather data. Remember: if your… • Continue reading this entry.
For a giggle, have a look at Google Maps’s driving directions from New York to Dublin, Ireland. Take special note of step 23. Lord help us if this makes its way into dashboard navigation systems. Via Kottke. Update: The MetaFilter… • Continue reading this entry.
Here we go again. Another story proving that an onboard GPS is a poor substitute for common sense, or at least some signs of neural activity. A woman drove her expensive Mercedes into a river in Leicestershire, and needed to… • Continue reading this entry.
Fed up with large trucks getting stuck along a narrow laneway that their navigation systems sent them down, residents of the Hampshire village of Exton asked for, and received, signs warning drivers to disregard their GPS receivers, The Mail… • Continue reading this entry.
Just how hard is it to update the maps on in-dash GPS navigation systems? The fact that Toyota’s announcement — that it has developed a way to simplify and speed up the process by only updating the maps relevant to… • Continue reading this entry.
Google gets a bit confused on the road to North Brunswick, New Jersey, Valleywag reports. Update, 1/23: Google has corrected the directions, but Chad has screenshots if you missed it…. • Continue reading this entry.
Dave Winer discovers a better route than the directions suggested by Google Maps, and wonders: “So — when does mapping become a two-way app? I’d be willing to tell their software that I have a better route, it’s one that… • Continue reading this entry.
Roadnav is open-source navigation software meant to be run on an in-car computer connected to a GPS; it runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. “Roadnav can obtain a car’s present location from a GPS unit, plot street… • Continue reading this entry.
On the other hand, sometimes stories about being led astray by navigation systems aren’t so amusing. The tech community has been concerned about the disappearance of CNet senior editor James Kim and his family while on vacation: his family was… • Continue reading this entry.
Another screwup thanks to blindly following a GPS navigation system instead of, well, thinking, this time by a British ambulance that went 200 miles off-course on what was supposed to be a routine, 20-minute transfer. The drivers, according to the… • Continue reading this entry.
Allan Doyle on the “life-changing” impact of a GPS: “I don’t know about you, but my mental map of greater Boston has been simplified to an abstraction that borders on the scary. Of course, I didn’t realize that until I… • Continue reading this entry.
Dvorak, being Dvorak, disses GPS devices: “I’ve had the various DeLorme and Microsoft systems and a number of nifty handheld devices. My conclusion: Buy a friggin’ map! Much of the appeal of the GPS is that the general public today… • Continue reading this entry.
“Discriminav” is a dark bit of humour from Talkshow with Spike Feresten: Via GPS Tracklog. This skit is teh funny, but what it describes is also totally possible: all you’d need to do is mash up census data with driving… • Continue reading this entry.
As God as my witness, I thought Germans could drive. But we have two more stories of drivers following their GPS navigation systems to unusual ends: last Monday, a driver rammed a staircase in Rudolstadt, and on Thursday a… • Continue reading this entry.
Aged German driver obeys navigation system, ignores construction barricades, crashes into pile of sand. Via Engadget. See previous entries: Getting Stuck in a Narrow Welsh Laneway; Because My Car Said So; Crackpot Directions Send Drivers Along a Cliff…. • Continue reading this entry.
The New York Times adds to the pile of coverage about digital mapping data providers with this piece about Navteq’s field surveyors, tagging along as they survey a part of Queens. Since Navteq and TeleAtlas don’t sell directly to consumers,… • Continue reading this entry.
All Points Blog reports that MapQuest has released a beta of a new (for them) thing for their directions feature: multi-point route building (press release). See previous entry: More About MapQuest’s Future…. • Continue reading this entry.
On We Make Money Not Art, Régine rounds up previous stories about drivers in the UK being led astray (into rivers, along cliffs) by their dashboard GPS navigation units. (Or rather, about drivers in the UK allowing themselves to be… • Continue reading this entry.
First there was a massive update of Google Earth’s satellite and aerial photography, much of which affected (and improved) the imagery for Europe. Then that imagery was carried over to Google Maps, which again had an impact on European views…. • Continue reading this entry.
If you thought sending drivers along a 100-foot cliff was crazy enough, you won’t believe this entry from the annals of bad directions from wonky British in-car navigation systems. Except this time I’m not so sure if it’s the fault… • Continue reading this entry.
This week’s New Yorker has a long article by Nick Paumgarten on mapping, the principal focus of which is driving directions, but which has lots of little digressions into cognate areas like road maps (and their history) and digital mapping… • Continue reading this entry.
BBC News: “Drivers following satellite navigation systems through a village called Crackpot have been directed along a track at the edge of a 100-ft cliff.” Another entry in the annals of errors made by in-car navigation systems. Via Slashgeo. See… • Continue reading this entry.