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Old 08-29-2009, 10:54 AM   #1
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Navigation - Hit & Miss

(I used Firefox for this research - I know, I have to much time on my hands!)

I really think that mapping directions such as Google Maps, or Yahoo Maps, and others should have this down to a science. I mean, if "We" can take a picture from outer space with a 6 inch resolution, why in the tarnation can't they get directions right for their mapping systems!!!!

Take for example my recent request for information on the RV Ranch, in Burleson, TX.

The address, as provided for by the campground, is listed as

2301 S. Burleson Blvd
Burleson, TX 76028

It does not recognize that address. It just places you where it thinks you want to go. If you place that address in Google Maps, it will take you past the exit you want when coming from I-35S. They want you to use Exit 36. That is 4 exits North of the exit (32) that is recommended and will get you to the CG the easiest. 2301, by Google standards, is not an RV park.

Now if you put in 2301 I-35 S. Burleson, TX, you will be just a little past the entrance to the RV park.

Now if you do some back tracking, you will find Google places the RV Ranch at:

2327 I-35 S. Burleson, TX, just off exit 32.

No wonder I get lost!!!! My GPS does ALMOST the same thing.
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Old 08-29-2009, 11:43 AM   #2
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I use Delorme GPS software and run into the same type of problem. What is the REAL address of where I'm headed. I've been bagged several times with dead ends and poor street choices. Now every time I use the software I verify the route prior to taking it.
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Old 08-29-2009, 04:26 PM   #3
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Wayne, I have found the mapping software and the GPS unots are not 100% reliable. They will generally get you real close, but in some cases...it is way off.

They will show a left exit when it is a right exit...and been that way for 10 years or more.

So I still use a map with the GPS when going to a place the first time.

I know our house is about 3 house numbers off from where Google thinks we are located. It puts you in front of the house next door. So maps and eyeballs work best in the long run.

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Old 08-29-2009, 09:36 PM   #4
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Wayne, my experience with Mapquest and Google Maps is that they are wrong 50% of the time on addresses. Especially when I'm going to a new RV Park directly, I always switch to the aerial view and compare that to what the map is telling me. THat has saved me from those mistakes, for the most part.

OTOH, when I use the POIs in Street Atlas, it is wrong about 25% of the time. However, when it is wrong it is VERY wrong. I've not had many occasions where a POI was just a near miss. It is not a big deal unless, like the RV Ranch example, they put you off a bunch of exits in the wrong direction or, worse yet, on the wrong side of the highway without a nearby cross road.

All that said, Mapquest and Street Atlas are a lot closer than the information on the maps we get from AAA. They used to be great but now the information isn't accurate at all. I'll take my chances with the electronic maps.
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Old 08-30-2009, 09:31 PM   #5
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A real kicker. I mapped from our house to Kirtland AFB. The result showed the destination (by lat/long) about 1,500 miles West of the coast of South America!
I try to remember that every mapping software program contains a disclaimer not to rely on only that software for directions.
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Old 08-31-2009, 08:15 AM   #6
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I started this thread, just for conversation and an example of how far off GPS mapping can be. It is unfortunate with today's technology. GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) comes to my mind when thinking about GPS databases.

Like those posted above, I do check with a mapping program, or the printed map, or a combination of maps when planning a route, even on a daily basis. I have found that Microsoft Streets & Trips comes really close to getting you where you want to go. My DW, on the other hand, tells me where to go. After all, she is the co-pilot.

when I first purchased my TomTom 720 about 2-1/2 years ago, it seemed that it was a lot more reliable than present day directions. I have purchased the updated North America maps, and have kept the unit updated by connecting it to my computer and using TomTom Home. Recently it seems that it is having a more difficult time telling me where to go, but at least it is telling me nicely.

All new GPS users would take heed of the posts in this thread. I have a friend that was following his GPS pulling a 40 ft 5'er and got dead ended. They only way he could turn around (backing was not an option as it was to far) was to jack knife the trailer, unhook, pull around the trailer and hook up in the jack knife position, then drive off.

That can be a scary scene depending on obstacles, like bushes, trees, fences, etc. Just remember to keep the rear wheels on pavement, or very hard ground, and be careful of your rear overhang for those mentioned obstacles.

And remember, Thimk Ahead.
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Old 08-31-2009, 08:28 AM   #7
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If you really want to haqve some fun do what I do. I use 2 different brand of GPS when we are traveling, now for the ones that know how great GPS are for be 100% right all the time, now think how much fun it is when each one tells you to go a different way.
Never, Never, Never trust your GPS with out looking at a map to where you are going.
Best directions we ever got was when we were in Texas, put in an address in Dallas and after driving about 50 miles it took us right back to where we started, but never on the same roads just 1 big circle. Yes the GPS Company replaced it, that why we now have 2 different brand GPS and always check the map before we leave and use the GPS to let us know that our turn may or not be coming up.
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:09 AM   #8
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I guess I've been lucky! Have used at least six different GPS units over the past 20 years or so both on water and land and have never had the kind of problems some describe in this thread. I recognize though, that any mass produced electronic items can be built with defects and cause problems. I have found, with the exception of new addresses, my GPS is accurate 99.9% of the time and I also use Streets and Trips, which confirms my directions. I have used Garmin units almost exclusively during this time and have never been led to a completely false location. GPS is a highly accurate system, built originally for the armed forces, so any mislocation problems are probably due to a defect with the particular unit or poor reception of signals.
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:49 AM   #9
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Often the misses are due to the person inputting the data. If they make a mistake it will be a mistake in the info you get. Also not all addresses were or are done by GPS. I don't know much about cartography but our town chose to keep the old street addresses in the town proper when doing our E911 addressing.
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:48 PM   #10
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I also have been pretty lucky then I guess with the GPS results i have gotten. Sure, some places have been a little off, both on land and water, but it has been a huge help.

For 12 years up until 3 years ago, my business coded electonic maps with streets, addresses, and other GPS related features. These maps were used as a basis for todays GPS devices and for also for State/Fed. agency search devices.
Various aerial underlays were used as we created the database that the node-based systems could used to determine a traffic flow. The aerial picture by itself doesn't have any 'intelligence'.
Any error in assigning addresses or digitizing streets, or assigining the correct direction of flow in sewer pipes (one of our huge projects), would result in potential confusion for some future user of an info-device.

I still am incredibilly impressed though that esentially everyone has at their fingertips a pretty darn acurate streetmap of the world !!
( Maybe a few houses are a couple addresses off. )
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Old 08-31-2009, 02:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatDog View Post
Any error in assigning addresses or digitizing streets, would result in potential confusion for some future user of an info-device.
Maybe that's part of the "garbage in" talked about earlier ?

At best, we have to deal with 2-3 year old maps in our units let alone errors like those mentioned. Agree though that GPS is the best thing since popcorn.
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Old 09-01-2009, 07:55 AM   #12
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Once you know that it might be a little off, you can compensate for the error margin. Also I will use the GPS and check it with Microsoft Streets and Trips. Then I have two references.
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Old 09-01-2009, 08:14 AM   #13
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GPS is quite accurate but the maps (which are generated from a database that every map maker uses AFAIK) may be in error. The problem is that the map program people can't alter the database to correct the errors.

That in mind, I don't depend on my GPS mapping as being the word of God. I apply information I gather with my eyes, and paper maps. I have been unpleasantly surprised a couple times but never to where the goof cost me anything more than a few minutes time.

All this means is I do not rely on GPS, MS S&T or the wife. All inputs are valuable. None are absolute.
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Old 09-06-2009, 06:16 AM   #14
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When entering the street address for a campground or whatever remember that the postaal address is not necessarily where the front door for the campground is located!

I have found this to be true by using the GPS to locate me when in the campground and frequently the address is quite different from where the place lists their mail address.
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