In desperation at finding some blog topics, and a mind focused on other things currently (Christmas shopping, aging mother, board meetings), I have turned to the newspaper for my posts this week:
Apple Maps and Aussies
Australian police are warning travellers not to rely on Apple Maps. Apparently the maps have dangerous mistakes, and could lead to you ending up in the middle of nowhere in Australia (and the middle of nowhere in Australia is really and truly the middle of nowhere!), in danger of running out of petrol, water, and succumbing to the incredible heats they can get in the summer. Obviously, resorting to a paper map or reading road signs (let’s face it, Australia isn’t that heavily populated that road signs can’t direct you to your destination) is something that in this high-tech age is considered unnecessary, or perhaps, too difficult. Likewise, something similar happened to a couple of tourists in NZ a few years ago. They were driving from Christchurch to Nelson, and must have programmed the GPS for shortest route, rather than fastest route. They got taken along obscure dirt roads rather than on the main highways. In the end, frightened and lost in the middle of the night, they rang emergency services.
My husband and I don’t have GPS. Frankly, in New Zealand – except perhaps Auckland – it really isn’t necessary. But when we travel overseas these days, we always book a rental car with GPS. GPS is wonderful when navigating your way through a busy foreign city. But we also like to back it up with a paper map. And use our eyes. We found this useful in Spain, as our GPS lead us astray from time to time (including in a busy, foreign city). Instead of following the GPS on a secondary road, we’d take the newly constructed highway that didn’t yet register on the rental company’s GPS software, The GPS unaccountably detoured us off the main road as we drove into Gibraltar. There was only one road to the border, and it was dead straight. But the GPS took us on a detour around small, back roads, until we gave up in frustration and followed our eyes. After all, the Rock of Gibraltar is hard to miss when you’re approaching it. In South Africa though, my husband decided he knew better than the GPS, and we ended up detouring back to Cape Town airport via Stellenbosch (getting stuck at morning rush hour) and Muizenburg down on the coast. We were lucky we had given ourselves plenty of time to get to our flight. Next time we will buy ourselves a decent map. GPS has also steered me wrong in Italy, when I was navigating with my friend Wendy. Again, instincts coupled with a good, hard-copy map proved invaluable.
It makes me wonder how you can rely only on the GPS, and not at any stage engage your brain.