22 March 2010

GPS Logic

I finally broke down and bought a GPS unit. I held out for years because i am quite capable of reading a map. I decided that it may be easier to use the GPS than dragging a map with me in my travels. Now i have the GPS and maps as a backup because i don't trust the GPS. I know, it makes me laugh as well.

I took the GPS and played with it around town to determine how well it works. It works well enough to get me close which is good enough for me. I don't however agree with its logic. So this got me to thinking, how does the GPS use logic to map a route.

I was able to program some preferences into my GPS unit so it will map according to my preferences. The problem is that the logic the GPS devices uses doesn't necessarily mean it's logical. For example, logically, the shortest distance is also the fastest route. Logically, that makes sense. Realistically, it's not true. I can go past a destination and come back on a route with no traffic lights and be faster than the shortest route with traffic lights. The GPS doesn't factor traffic lights. It also doesn't even consider going past the destination.

Also, the data uploaded to the GPS is only as good as what is provided. Sometimes the searches do not bring the right results. I guess it's because the GPS units are only updated annually.

The GPS would be fine In a place where i am unfamiliar. It will get me to the destination which is what it was meant for. It may not be the best route to take but what do i know, i am using it because i don't know where i am going to begin with. I will tell you what works really well, my GPS in conjunction with my blackberry. My blackberry can look up places in real time and it also can map a route to the destination. If i program the GPS with the destination, it gets me there better than the blackberry because it constantly refreshes it's position.

Peace out and good luck with national healthcare.

1 comment:

Sevesteen said...

The software of GPS units matters more than the hardware--My previous GPS was an off brand, and the software was crappy, neither shortest nor fastest, and with an absurdly strong preference for driving on Interstates.

The hardware was capable of running a pirated copy of the same software my current one uses. My current unit tracks actual speeds, and when users update, it sends the data back to the company to be combined and incorporated into the logic. It does a very good job, and even accounts for the time of day, taking a longer but less congested route during rush hour, a more direct route off-peak.