GPS is imperfect


Another one of those fun stories about how following GPS can ruin your day (or your car) (via Engadget): Man follows GPS directions onto train tracks, into dummy hall of fame


The problem with this item (and the trackback to the original CNN version) is that it makes for a great story, but key details are missing. For instance, how do we know that the "mentat in question" was in fact using the GPS unit correctly? The GPS may have worked flawlessly, as the problem may exist "between the keyboard and chair."

In these stories, the problem is always between the keyboard and the chair (over-reliance on technology and an inability to discern sense from non-sense if the GPS is wrong, misapplication of the GPS if it is right), the question is whether there was a compounding problem with the unit or the underlying maps. Based on experience with internet mapping, I don't believe the latter is far reach, though whether it is true in this case requires investigation.

David Levinson

Network Reliability in Practice

Evolving Transportation Networks

Place and Plexus

The Transportation Experience

Access to Destinations

Assessing the Benefits and Costs of Intelligent Transportation Systems

Financing Transportation Networks

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This page contains a single entry by David Levinson published on January 4, 2008 4:10 PM.

Drivers on Cells Clogging Traffic was the previous entry in this blog.

Traffic jam as an indicator of success is the next entry in this blog.

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