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GPS and Front-seat Dynamics

Posted by on Jul 20, 2014 in Finding your way as you drive, Google Maps, GPS, travel, Wayfinding, wayfinding technology | 0 comments

GPS and Front-seat Dynamics

In those golden days of yesteryear, long before GPS was even a twinkle in the eye of computer geeks, drivers and passengers often found the front seat of the car a great place to disagree. One may have insisted that he (or she) knew the way, while the other was absolutely certain they were headed in the wrong direction. These “discussions” often escalated into accusations and recriminations – perhaps funny at first, then not so much.

GPS was supposed to fix all that. With always perfect, scientifically-derived directions (from satellites!), no one could argue with the wisdom of the instructions and everyone could just settle in for the ride. Front-seat peace in our time. Right? Well, maybe not always. . .

First, of course, the directions were and are, indeed, not always perfect. And then, when someone – driver or passenger – is totally focused on (obsessed with?) the GPS device: setting it up, analyzing its every move and recommendation, arguing with it, defending it – the other person in the car may feel less-than-friendly toward this all-knowing inanimate object with the soothing, but insistent voice.

In this Boston Globe Magazine article, Erin Blakely humorously recounts her husband’s obsession with Google Maps and its effect on family drives.

If you’re directionally challenged you need the award-winning book, Directional Sense: How to Find Your Way Around, by Janet R. Carpman and Myron A. Grant.


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