GPS has downsides --

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by ghrit, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

  2. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    They're not the only ones:

    LEBANON, Ore. - It was supposed to be a quick trip to see family for Christmas, but a GPS’ offer of a shorter route left one couple and their young daughter stranded in deep snow in the middle of nowhere.

    Jeramie Griffin and Megan Garrison left Lebanon Christmas Eve with their 11-month-old daughter to visit family in The Dalles when their new GPS unit promised a “back way” would save them more than 40 miles.

    But that route left their SUV buried on a Forest Service road near Timothy Lake and the family with no food and only the truck’s heater to melt snow to survive.[​IMG]

    The couple recorded their ordeal on home video and at one point began saying their final goodbyes.

    “When I looked at him, and I said, ‘I’m scared’ and he said, ‘I’m scared too’ that’s when I was like, ‘oh, this is not good,’” said Garrison.

    Griffin tried over and over to dig them out, but the SUV kept getting stuck.

    The couple took turns walking for miles to get cell-phone service but had no success.

    Hours went by and search and rescuers couldn’t find them. That’s when Griffin’s uncle, Jim Wiens, used a similar GPS unit to map the route that ended up leading him right to them.

    “They were getting to a point where they were like, ‘there’s no way they would be down this far,’” said Garrison. But “he saw our footprints, so he kept going.”

    Now, the couple said it’ll be highways only next time.

    “We should have just went the way we knew and we would have been there,” said Griffin. “Everything would have been all right.”

    The couple said they started with only a half tank of gas, so if Wien hadn’t kept going, it wouldn’t have been long until they were just out there in the cold.
  3. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    So what did they do wrong monks(mondaymorning (q-backing)??
    1) trusted in a technological device to think for them they obviously didn't have full command of.
    2) no safety gear for conditions,
    1/2tankofgas into a winter environment...
  4. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    Tried to drive in Oregon without a real map. ;)
  5. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I have a GPS unit that I typically use when I fly into a strange city and want to find my way around. I also use them when somewhere deep in a city and need to find my way back to the highway.

    A couple of things have to happen to the GPS market:

    Need to be smart as in learn the way you typically go, When testing around my house, it recalculates about 4 times until I get to the Interstate. It should know by now that I never take to 4 extra turns it wants me to take.

    Needs a 'ghetto avoidance' feature. Just like the idiots who decided to trust it through a forest road, it will also drive you straight through DMZs if it thinks it's quicker or shorter.

    The ability to find a Starbucks for a wife in need of a coffee fix has been a lifesaver a few times :)

    Bottom line, always use your head over technology. All of these tools are just aids and can't compensate for self awareness.
  6. CRC

    CRC Survivor of Tidal Waves | RIP 7-24-2015 Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I can (and do) get lost all by myself. :rolleyes:
  7. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    I have a rock-simple little eXplorist 200 by Magellan - NO stupid voices. It is little more than a glorified electronic roadmap, that is a lot quicker and eaiser to tell if I am going off-track when riding my bike, than having to stop and read a map. It is also good for laying 'bread crumbs' to get back out of an area. I carry spare batteries (no vehicle power with this little guy!) and it's built-in maps only go to the major highway and well-used city street level - no trails or back roads shown. It does show lakes, rivers and such coming up.
    So.... it is a good TOOL, but is NOT to be relyed on explicitly! It has shown some tendency toward errors, and it's old enough now that reworked roads aren't updated and newer roads aren't there.

    One day I will get a newer, better machine - but this one still does what I need it to do. Tough bugger too - it's fallen of the bike and bounced on the road a couple times - still runs like a Timex! [winkthumb]

    I still carry good maps and a compass.
  8. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    I can remember when the GPS units were first available on the civillian market for aviation use. My father and I bought a Trimble-Nav unit and used it quite a few times.

    It had a few flaws over the tried-and-true analog radio navigation systems (VOR and ADF): It's sensitivity was very high. You only had to be off about 100 yards from centerline and the thing would blink angrily at you about it. After that we called it the nag box, or Trimble-Nag.

    When flying VOR, you can lazily fly across the centerline of your course and only have the CDI needle wiggle a little bit. Sometimes you want to deviate because you are "rounding the corners" when flying over the VOR radio station itself.

    Back then, it didn't have a very large database, and you had to program in all of the airports and waypoints you wanted to use. If you weren't careful, you bust through somebody's controlled airspace, like West Point Military College, or the facility at Raven Rock (underground Pentagon site). Or, more commonly somebody's class B or C airspace.
  9. jwander

    jwander Monkey++

    I'd like to know if GPS technology will still function if the power grid fails on Earth?
  10. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Yes, as long as your batteries hold up and dot gov doesn't shut down the system.
  11. jwander

    jwander Monkey++

    Do you have a source for that information?
  12. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Logic only. The satellites are self powered and will send signals until they are shut off. If your batteries are charged, you are in business. I wouldn't count on your cell phone GPS to operate, dunno if they have separate GPS antennas or work only via the cell towers. That said, I don't plan on using such a gadget, I will be depending on maps, charts, and compasses.
  13. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Just take a minute to do a walkthrough of the route before setting out on the journey.
  14. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I use mine constantly. Makes it easier to find adresses and I keep all needed gear in the truck if it turned into an 'adventure' includeing a handgun or 2 on me so I dont worry to much about haveing to drive through bad areas but mostly stay on the highways untill near the destination.
  15. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    Once (only time) I used google maps to find a place, only about 100 miles from me to go and take some photos.....
    That was a mistake.
    Nearly ened up in New mexico. 300 miles away from where I wanted to go...
    GPS on my cellular phone was NOT worth it's weigh in mud, when it came to a call to 911....The call was re-routed a number of times, and finally we just hung up on them.
    I place little trust in some technology, and that's one of them!
  16. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    My riding/shooting buddy has a GPS in his truck - pretty nice unit - but we refer to it as the "Nagigator". That virtual lady gets awefully miffed if he deviates from HER route! [ROFL]

    Another riding buddy has one on his bike - we were following what it labeled as a 'road' once - ended up going down this two-track deertrail and wound up in someone's rural backyard! :D
    No sweat - we were 'adventure riding' with full tanks and survival gear.
  17. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I got a magellon roadmate for Christmas. One of the first things that annoyed me was how it calculated getting from my house to the interstate. But, fortunately after 3 or 4 trips to the interstate the way I go, that is now the default route.

    Now, I'm slightly annoyed that while I have the "latest" map, it's really out of date. My BIL has lived in his house for 4 years, and that road is not in the map yet.

    There was a new road finished in my subdivision, now giving us 2 ways to exit the area instead of one :). I wonder how long before that road is added to the map? I keep waiting for the GPS to say "you are now offroading and I can no longer help you", instead it just keeps repeating "please make a legal u-turn when possible".
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