Lost without GPS

We would, quite literally, all be lost without GPS.  In the last 10 years or so, it has transformed our lives in so many ways; much more than just being able to get to your destination without the use of a map.  Maps themselves have all but disappeared and, only the traditionalists still use them; they are now about as common as typewriters.

GPS units have allowed us to get lost; to go off the beaten path and explore areas that we would never have done before, because getting lost is now all but impossible.  Our smart phones have GPS built in to them so not only can we find where we need to go but, if needed, they can help others find us.  Of course, this all comes with the concern that we are being monitored constantly by Big Brother, which may well be true but, honestly, who really cares?  I certainly don’t.   Yes, the paranoid, conspiracy theorists are up in arms about it but they probably have something to hide.

GPSinCarI’ve had Garmin GPS units in my cars for at least the past 7 years and I relied on them completely.  When I travelled, I took the unit with me and plugged it into the rental car, rather than paying the agency for the use of one.  This worked fine until the last trip, when I discovered that the cigarette lighter socket, in the car, wasn’t working and my GPS was running out of power. I was on my way to a hotel, in an area that I didn’t know, and was quite convinced that the GPS would die before I got there, stranding me in the middle of nowhere.  Fortunately, the unit died just as I pulled into the hotel which was absolutely perfect timing.  However the next day, I had to find my way to a remote location in the foothills and had no idea how I was going to manage that.

It was then that I discovered that the Maps application in my iPhone had very good GPS capability; in fact, in many ways, it is far superior to the Garmin.  I’d had the phone for over a year and had never once thought of using it as my GPS unit; in fact, you could say I had overlooked the obvious.  As I explored using it, I realized that I could ask Siri for directions and she would instantly pull up the maps and send me on my way.  (Siri allows men to ask for directions without feeling like a idiot so she’s a very handy traveling companion).  I also found that I could press on an address in my address book or Safari or an email, and that also would instantly load the map and plot the directions.  Now when I get in the car, the phone tells me, without prompting, how long it will take me to get home and what the traffic is like.

I may well be the only idiot on the planet with a smart phone who didn’t realize how amazing the GPS functionality is but, just in case, I’m not alone, hopefully this short post will encourage you to explore.

Now go and get lost; in the nicest possible way, of course.

P.S.  I recommend that you buy one of these $16 Scosche units to mount on your windshield.  Then attach the magnet to the back of your phone so that you can slap it straight on when you get in the car.  (A word of warning though, if you put the magnet directly onto the phone, you’ll never be able to remove it so, best advice, is to have the phone in a case and put the magnet on the case).

P.P.S.  If you click on the picture of the mount, it will take you straight to its Amazon page.

 

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