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Travellers Warned Over Reliance On GPS


Article by: Darren Griffin
Date: 19 May 2011

pocketgpsworld.com
Authorities in the western United States have reminded travellers not to rely solely on GPS when navigating in remote areas.

The warning follows the case of Albert and Rita Chretien, a Canadian couple, who went missing during a road trip from their home in British Columbia to Las Vegas.

They had used a handheld GPS to guide them and became stuck in snow on a remote track near the Idaho-Nevada border. Rita Chretien was found by hunters with her vehicle after surviving for 48 days but the search for Albert has now been called off. He had set off to find help after after being stranded three days.

Sheriff's and Search and Rescue officials have warned that travellers should never rely on GPS as their sole means of navigation. They should have maps and appropriate survival equipment. They should also ensure that their planned route and itinerary is known to others if they are not using main roads.

Similar cases have occurred in Australia and whilst we may have less remote wilderness here in the UK, the advice applies just as well to drivers who set off on unfamiliar routes. It is also applicable to hill walkers and ramblers where map reading is a key skill and a smartphone with digital maps, whilst useful, is not a replacement for paper mapping and a compass.


Comments
Posted by JimmyTheHand on Thu May 19, 2011 7:13 pm Reply with quote

all sensible advice - which will unfortunately need repeating frequently Sad


J.

 
Posted by Lui-G on Fri May 20, 2011 10:40 am Reply with quote

If they had taken maps and no GPS, they would be in the same tragic situation - the GPS in this case is as much at fault here as a co-pilot reading a map (correctly).

The article could just as well warn people not to rely on cars, as these get stuck in snow!

If you have the map-reading skill, you can manage fine with a smartphone with digital maps and a built-in compass. It's the same information, really!
Surely us tech folk here shouldn't be on the technology-bashing train.

I'll get my eCoat. Laughing


 
Posted by Guivre46 on Fri May 20, 2011 10:47 am Reply with quote

I used to think it was an age thing. Us older people have grafted satnav over previous route finding skills, so should be less reliant, more questioning of technology. It is younger people who know nothing but technology based solutions who should be unquestioning when it comes to navigation.

Unfortunately my lovely theory is blown out of the water by the reports of satnav related errors, which seem to cover all age groups. The one thing they do have in common seems to be that it is new users who hit problems.


Mike R [aka Wyvern46]
Go 530T - unsupported
Go550 Live [not renewed]
Kia In-dash Tomtom

 
Posted by JimmyTheHand on Fri May 20, 2011 6:29 pm Reply with quote

Lui-G Wrote:
If they had taken maps and no GPS, they would be in the same tragic situation - the GPS in this case is as much at fault here as a co-pilot reading a map (correctly).

Difference is when you look at map you'll see more details about road you are taking (e.g. whether main road, passing through towns etc.) and can apply some common sense not available to satnav


J.

 
Posted by lbendlin on Tue May 24, 2011 4:59 pm Reply with quote

This is no surprise - they obviously used a car with the steering wheel on the wrong side, and subsequently got all their instructions flipped over too.


Lutz

Report Map Errors here:
TomTom/TeleAtlas NAVTEQ

 
Posted by Darren on Tue May 24, 2011 5:13 pm Reply with quote

lbendlin Wrote:
This is no surprise - they obviously used a car with the steering wheel on the wrong side, and subsequently got all their instructions flipped over too.

The wrong side? Are you sure Wink
Image flipped


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by sunbeam16 on Fri May 27, 2011 7:36 am Reply with quote

Lui-G Wrote
If you have the map-reading skill, you can manage fine with a smartphone with digital maps and a built-in compass. It's the same information, really!

This is true but paper maps don't need batteries


 
Posted by tripitaka on Fri May 27, 2011 4:45 pm Reply with quote

The assumption here seems to be that they were lost and the local media here (in BC where the couple were from) have come out and stated that they were not lost but were stuck. There *is* a difference.

Common concensus here is that it wasn't the GPS use that nailed them, it was taking an inappropriate vehicle down that track. To get that in context requires some understanding of the various states of logging roads here - some of which are better than certain tarmac streets in the UK - and some of which are definitely 4x4 only. They ended up on a latter with a vehicle only suited to the former.

Also, teh quality of maps here is nowhere near the standard of OS maps in the UK but one also needs to appreciate the scale. The UK is a tiny place to map compared to Canada and the US - heck, BC alone is 5 times bigger than the UK.

Certainly, hindsight has proved that the couples itinerary was inappropriate for many reasons, none of which includes the use of the GPS.


 
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