So we are
travelling from one point to another, blindly following the
directions on our GPS, wondering where on earth it is taking
us, and you are suddenly at a dead end, or the road turns into
little more than a track, or the road you are being instructed
to turn onto doesn't exist - What the .... you exclaim, B....y
stopped to think how this has happened, why did the GPS bring
us this way, why did I waste my money on this worthless heap
of garbage? Have you stopped to ask yourself what did you do
to find directions in the past?
In all probability,
you used to use a map. And where is that map NOW, when you need
it most, and if you can find it, where on earth are you, if
you haven't been following the map whilst faithfully trusting
of the matter is that a GPS is a bit like a calculator. The
calculater can solve the problem if you tap in the right numbers,
but how do you know if the answer is correct, unless you have
a rough idea of the ball park answer you are looking for. The
same with our GPS. If you study your map before hand, and have
an idea of where you are supposed to be going, and a picture
in your head of how to get there, you are well armed to question
the GPS when it gives you a direction that does't sound right.
travelled from Albany to Margaret River in WA, and when I got
to Manjimup, I was directed to go to the Brockman Hwy near Bridgetown,
and then travel along that thru Nannup. It didn't matter whether
I asked for Quickest, Shortest, Least use of Freeways or Most
use of Freeways, it wanted me to go to the Brockman Hwy. Now
I have a female voice in my GPS, and she is called "WANDA",
because I wonder where is she going to take me this time. And
so I ignored her advice, consulted with the map, and travelled
across Graphite Road to Nannup, which saved me quite a few kilometres.
It took Wanda a while to cotton on that I was taking no notice
of her, and to re-route onto he road I was travelling on. It
is VITAL, that you know where you are going. (Incidentally,
I DO know my way, but I use the GPS to tell me how many kms
I am from my destination)
I often allow Wanda to have complete control, especially when
I am not in a hurry. I have heard people complain that they
have been taken out of their way by this woman - or man, depending
on who is voicing your unit. I have found myself travelling
through country that I would never have seen, and discovered
all sorts of treasures by following Wandas directions. We got
led down a dead end last year in Queensland, and found two amazing
letterboxes that would only ever be seen by the owners, the
mailman, and the neighbours up the road. I love my GPS - even
WITH all its quirks.
do they work. The maps on GPS that are powered by Navteq, are
I believe obtained from Goverment Mapping. Therefore, every
road that has ever been gazetted seems to be included. That
is fine, except, that a lot of roads, although gazetted, have
never been constructed. And that is why they aren't there. Now
the people who program these things, don't know that, unless
advised by the travelling public - and who ever does that? And
so, they use a number of formula, that creates a heirachy of
how directions are formulated. And as with ANY sort of computer
programming, a typo can stuff up the whole system. I was travelling
back to Popanyinning from Corrigin (WA) one day, and was looking
for the shortest route. Wanda responded according to the heirachy
(Freeways, major roads, minor roads, major unsealed roads etc),
and was insisting that I took a particular course. By checking
the map, and heading West along farm and dirt roads, Wanda eventually
picked up and fell into line, and we saved over 70 kms.
cursor will always tell you exactly where you are. Your GPS
map will only show you where that is, if it is up to date. It
is important to keep your software current.
Now so far,
we are taliking about Navigational GPSs. In the main, if you
are on major and minor roads, they are useful. Get off road,
and they can become next to useless. To be fair, some of the
major tracks (Holland Track, Gunbarrel Hwy etc) are being included
- just as long as you stay on track. But in the bush, tracks
go everywhere, and it is easy to find yourself somewhere you
didn't want to be. If you are going to travel off road, it is
important that you obtain a GPS that doubles as a hand held
unit, that is loaded with topographical type maps. This type
of GPS doesn't tell you how to get there. You can plot your
own trail, and input your own waypoints (or "bush"
addresses) You can also obtain maps of our desert and outback
areas. These types of GPS maps are also preloaded with all the
information you want about any area. Hills, mountains, rivers,
Bores, dams, rockholes, caves, towers, heaps more, and in some
cases, camping spots.
I have been
using a Magellan Crossover GPS for the past few years, and along
with the free computer mapping software, I have plotted all
of my trips, and also have a satellite finder plugged into my
computer with the software running, so that we get a larger
overview of where we are, and "can work out what thet hill
is over there (if named)". This GPS complete with all mapping
is not cheap, but it does everything, including Voice Navigation.
Hema produce a similar product, and there are others on the
market. Look around, and be prepared to spend a few dollars
to get the best unit you can find.
of this is of little use, if the unit breaks down, or you get
lost, and don't know where you are, because of the limitations
of the screen size sitting in front of you. Keep your maps by
your side, and refer to them frequently. You will learn so much
about the country you are travelling through as well. It's history,
it's makeup, nearby attractions that can't be seen on the little
screen in front of you.
enough for one day. i'm going to see where Wanda takes me today.
Now where is that map book?