Thursday, October 14, 2010

In GPS We Trust

Many drivers have spoken positively of the help that a Global Positioning System (GPS) has been in enabling them to find the way to various destinations.

Unfortunately an increasing number of stories are being revealed of others being ‘led up the garden path’ by cars equipped with satellite navigational aids.

Stranded in the Outback
A family of four spent three nights stranded in their ute after ignoring warning signs and following their GPS navigation system on to a closed dirt road in the NSW far north-west.

Sunk in Spain
The Spanish Red Cross reported the story of a 37-year-old man who died after driving his car into a reservoir near the western town of Capilla.

"It seems the GPS system pointed them on to an old road that ends in the reservoir, and that in the dark they were unable to brake in time, with the car taking just a couple of minutes to sink," the Red Cross said in a statement.

Although both men managed to get out of the Peugeot 306, only one made it to the shore.

Pictures of the scene show the old road running on a slight downhill slope straight into the reservoir, which is the biggest in the country.

There was no explanation as to why the GPS still showed the road as usable. La Serena reservoir, which stores water from the ZĂșjar river, was built in 1989.

What If it is Wrong?
It is perhaps the secret fear of all users of GPS systems: what if the device gets it wrong and leads you into danger?

Trusting directions and guidance can be a matter of life and death.

Geoff Pound