Joan Dorsey
Contributing columnist
There are many things to be said for the on phone navigation systems available to users.
As a member of the “map” generation I use them with some hesitation. Oh yes, they can be wonderful. They can save you time and money and headaches. But they are not always correct. What? Mistakes in the internet and online mapping systems? Yes, yes indeed.
As an example a truck driver driving a large tractor trailer, headed for the intermodal ended up on Grand St. In case you aren’t familiar with Grand St. it is on the south side of the viaduct. The viaduct is on Center street and passes over the railroad tracks.
Grand is one of the older streets in town. Still uncurbed in spots and pretty much narrow with trees, mailboxes and houses. So it is the route less traveled. It dead ends at the Gardner Cemetery.
The truck driver – needing a solution to his GPS mis-routing – turned on Grand and headed west. His main problem was low hanging power lines and a “non-stree” barely wide enough for two vehicles. He discovered this soon enough.
In his effort to relocate to a more modern conveyence, he took down a power pole and a transformer. He securely blocked the street. It took several hours to solve this problem.
I wonder if his GPS voice lady was screaming “rerouting! rerouting!” All this time.
I have been involved in a couple of incidents with the lady in the GPS before. The first time was on a trip across Missouri. The whole idea was to follow Route 66 into Illinois. The route stays pretty much with the newer roads. On occasion however, it strays slightly. When that happens, your fairly quiet mapping system sends out an alarm cry. “deviating from route, rerouting!!! rerouting!!” It only took about two of these episodes before we gave her a name. Her name was Elenor, like the Mustang from Bullitt.
We turned Elenor’s volume down and all was pretty good till we came to St. Louis. Our route included a bridge over the Mississippi River. We traveled the same four block place in town at least four times. It was heavily industrial, sorta shady looking and a wee bit scary. Especially in a newer Ford Mustang that stuck out like a sore thumb.
I was advised by the driver to lock the doors. We kept being routed to a chained fence, near a warehouse. Nope, nope nope. Finally we decided Elenor must have missed her update on the river bridge, and we found an alternate route.
The other GPS debacle was in Kansas near Ft Riley that turned a 90 minute trip into an almost three hour scenic tour.
So, while GPS has its uses and is a valuable tool, maps cannot be ruled out.
Yes, maps can be wrong, outdated and unreliable. GOS can be cranky and not properly updated with road closures, also.
I may be getting set in my ways, but give me a printed out instruction of how to get to a location, and I will find a way to make it work.
Take my word for it, Elenor is not always right!