I have been using GPS for about 5 years now. One might say I have become a GPS nerd at this point because it combines three things I like; maps, computers and walking or biking in the woods. I am able to digitize and create my own Garmin maps of trails and landmarks from aerial photography and downloaded topographical maps with such software as cgpsmapper and Mapedit. It’s really amazing in my opinion to create a map on the computer, and then go out into the real world and have it actually match trail for trail as you walk them. Here’s one= I made of a local cross-country ski area. (It doesn’t look like much on that site; the .img file needs to be put into Garmin’s Mapsource software to view and use.) Anyway, I’ve made it into sort of a hobby as you can tell. My daughter and I (mostly I) got into geocaching for a while. The fun thing about that was not so much about finding the actual cache, but the fact that it usually took us to ‘natural wonders’ that were more or less in our backyard we wouldn’t have known about or had a reason to go to otherwise.
I am one of those people who, when driving goes the wrong way all the time. It doesn’t bother me much, but it makes my wife; who seems to have a leftover childhood fear of being ‘lost’, absolutely crazy. So, as a gift a few years back I received a GPS with all the street level maps of the whole country. At certain times of the year we are often going to strange places for my daughters gymnastics tournaments, and since we are usually on a tight time schedule, I find the use of the GPS to be invaluable for at least being in the right lane and things of that nature. The back seat chorus of, "Dad’s turning around again.." has dissapeared for the most part. It takes a little bit of getting used to at first, but I do not find it to be distracting at all, in fact in many cases it’s less so because I know exactly what I’ll be doing at the next intersection and hardly even need to look for signs. The newer more expensive models even talk you through the directions, so minimal eye contact with the unit is needed. The added benefit of finding restaurants, gas stations and anything else nearby is another great feature as long as you don’t try to find them while you are driving.
This winter the use of GPS got us out of a huge mess in Pennsylvania when we were traveling to Florida and all the major highways in the whole state were closed because of extreme icing. We were able to get off the highway and route our way through the back streets of Wilkes-Barre avoiding all the stuck tractor-trailers in the main part of town and eventually get our way out of there without going in circles through a strange (and confusing) place.
I think like many gadgets in today’s world, this is one that you either have a use for, or if you have the natural ability to not to get lost or make wrong turns, probably don’t need. Many of you would probably be horrified to know that I don’t carry a cell phone because of the same philosophy of having no necessity for one.
That’s right, you were stuck in that mess..dude, again I’m sorry for that here in the state I live in. I’m surprised the streets of Wilkes-Barre were better than the interstate though..of course, part of the problems in the highway were the accidents CAUSED by the poor road conditions, caused by PennDOT deciding to allow a layer of snow to build up before plowing, but their layer of snow rapidly deteriorated into a layer of ice.
I’ll concede the GPS was handy, there—maps of Wilkes-Barre are confusing enough.
and, I happen to be one of those fortunate sons with a built in compass in my brain, along with a farily accurate (to within about 2 minutes normally) clock. Of course, that may more of a product of my environment—-I spend a lot of time in the woods..
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