Today, I would like to talk about the GPS currently available for cars. There is currently two schools of thought: 1)they work fine, and 2)they are total crap, and I can do it better. And the debate is often as strident as science vs religion. From my observations, the participants in the debate seem to be divided by a demographic that parts ways somewhere around the age of 50, but this is just an average. My friend John, age 70, used to be in the second group. He prefers a map, but he's changed a bit in the last 4 years. He points out that the problem with the GPS is that it doesn't tell him where he's at. And that's kind of true, and I understand that this can be disconcerting. The GPS only shows you how to get where you want to go. It dispenses with where you are, and simply tells you where to turn and which way to go.
Now to get to where you want to go, it is vital to know where you're at when using a map. A map will tell you where you are, but only if you actually know where you are. If you don't know, you're screwed. The GPS doesn't tell you where you are, but when you think about it, that information is navigationally irrelevant. Why care about where you are at if you don't want to be there, anyway?
My over 50 friends, like to argue with the GPS. My old girlfriend would ignore the GPS and intuitively go a different way. This is OK in familiar territory, but out in the middle of nowhere, pitting intuition against the GPS often led us to places we didn't want to be. Why do people argue with the GPS? But no biggy. If you go your own way, the GPS will recalculate and plot a new course to where you want to go. But it seems like an odd response to the GPS.
Another argument against the GPS is that if it's not up to date, it will sometimes want to take you on a road that may no longer exist. This is a problem, and I've encountered it myself, but the same can be said for out of date maps. After all, the map in your GPS is derived from an actual map, which may or may not be correct. The problem can traced back to someone's map.
If two people are in the same car, one can act as navigator using a map. This would be preferred. That is, if humans didn't make navigational errors, but two people with a map can argue among themselves and end up in the wrong place too, and I've experienced that enough times to know that this happens enough to be annoying.
Fact is, I haven't even had a map in my car for 10 years. OK, that's a fib. I think I could probably find an old ragged one under a seat somewhere. But I don't use a map anymore. Sometimes, the GPS takes me down side streets when I know the main road will get me to Costco. I don't always know what the GPS is doing, and frankly I don't care, as long as I end up at Costco, which I always do.
But for those who are sworn enemies of the GPS, none of this is important. Doing something a new way is annoying, while the traditional ways, with problems you have grown used to, feels more reassuring. I get it.