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All Opinions Are Local
Posted at 05:55 PM ET, 07/27/2011

Is GPS steering us wrong?


NPR has a really interesting story about the pitfalls of using GPS devices for driving directions. I’ve always been skeptical of them, and never owned one (though I do have Google Maps on my phone). I certainly understand the value they theoretically provide, but they’ve completely changed the way a lot of people drive, and it’s not necessarily for the better.

The first time I experienced GPS was in 2008, while I was living in Dallas. A friend of mine had one, and since I bummed a lot of rides with him, I got a chance to see if it lived up to the hype. Two out of the first three times we tried to use the GPS, it failed to get us to where we needed to go. After that, the GPS stayed in the glove box; we didn’t need it to get around the city.

There’s a scene in “The Office” where Michael Scott drives a car into a lake because the GPS gives him bad directions. It’s an exaggerated case of someone who’s completely reliant on a technological navigation system, but it’s not completely unrealistic. I recently heard of two friends, en route to DC, who wound up driving on a two-lane road up and down through the Appalachian Mountains, because the GPS device in the car told them to exit the interstate and take the more “direct” route.

[Continue reading Rob Pitingolo’s post at Extraordinary Observations.]

Rob Pitingolo blogs at Extraordinary Observations. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By  |  05:55 PM ET, 07/27/2011

 
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