Friday, November 9, 2007

GPS warning

The Global Positioning System (GPS) uses a network of orbiting satellites that transmit microwave radio signals, enabling a military or civilian GPS receiver to determine location, speed and direction.

A hand-held or automotive GPS receiver is often pre-programmed with maps and addresses, and can provide step-by-step travel directions. They are easier to use than bulky paper maps, and often more reliable than directions from a gas pump attendant.


(1) A GPS does not know what kind of vehicle you are driving, and may send a tall truck or travel trailer under a low bridge, with disasterous results. Read the road signs.

(2) A GPS probably doesn't know about delays due to construction, weather, or accidents, and may send you in a direction that will waste time, not save time. Check traffic and travel reports on your radio, and watch the flashing signs on the highway.

(3) A GPS map may not provide all the details you need. In September, your humble editor wasted hours retracing many miles along the coast of North Carolina, after discovering that what seemed like a bridge on the screen, was really a ferry route -- and the last boat had left before he got to the dock. Check paper maps and travel books.

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