Friday, June 14, 2013

GPS vs Google Maps

Today is Friday, June 14, 2013. 

Yesterday I drove from Tampa International Airport to a northern suburb of Miami all by myself in a rental car.  Before the trip, my friend in Tampa raved about the GPS built into his car, a Ford Fusion.  It had a nice big screen, but with narrow, irregular roads in the middle of downtown Tampa, I didn't think I could pay attention to a GPS and to the road at the same time.  Maybe I could get used to one if I started out in a familiar area, but not in an unknown place.  Besides, I still think it's a good practice to read maps and have some idea of how you are going to go before you start out.  With a GPS, you don't pay attention to the road as you should.  You only pay attention to the GPS.  It does your thinking for you, and that's scary.  I'd rather do my own thinking. 

Google Maps aren't perfect, but they are pretty good, and you can always look at the satellite view, as well as the map view, and on main roads they also have a ground view, so you can see what certain landmarks look like.  I plan out my route fairly carefully, with turn-by-turn directions, typed out in large print type and all the pages stapled together.  That way I can just flip the page when I get ready to go to the next destination.  

I did leave my driving directions in my car in Kansas City.  (My car is parked at a friend's home.)  But since I brought my computer with me, I was able to get my friend in Tampa to print out the directions again, and I will get my friends in Miami to help me print out the directions back to the Tampa, by way of a worship service in a place called Pinellas Park.  

Anyway, the GPS: I had been given an address of the Hertz office, and my friend in Tampa dutifully typed the address into his GPS.  He then proceeded to ignore directions to take an exit off the freeway, not once but twice.  "I know what I'm doing," said my friend.  (Ladies, have you heard this before?)

The GPS kept tracking us, but at one point it just said, "You have arrived at your destination," even though we clearly hadn't.  We spent an hour driving around when we should have spent only about 20 minutes.  Needless to say, I'm not sold on GPS. 

I had planned out my driving directions from the address I had been given for Hertz, which turned out to be wrong, but I was able to find the highway without any problems.  They are really very good at giving directions at the rental place.  Guess they have to be.  I will revise my directions back to the airport, without any problems, I think.   Today's drive was long, but I didn't get lost even once. 

Not only did I make it to Miami OK, I also found the local Weight Watchers meeting and weighed in before driving back to my friend's home.  Today I plan to meet a friend whose daughter has just had a baby.  Found the address of the hospital and have already figured out the turn-by-turn directions.  

Give me a good old map any day.  :-)

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