Half of GPS users given duff information
The robots can't be trusted
Half of those using stand-alone GPS equipment have been sent down the wrong road thanks to out of date or inaccurate information, though not all of them directly into a river.
TeleNav, who make software for GPS-equipped phone handsets, hired survey-company Zoomerang to poll 500 users of stand-alone GPS equipment. Half of those polled reported getting the wrong directions, with almost as many complaining of inaccurate business information.
The problem seems to stem from outdated or inaccurate information, rather than any failure of the positioning technology.
Even where stand-alone systems can be updated, though removable media or connection to a PC, it seems that most users don't bother: giving a system integrated into a phone a distinct advantage.
TeleNav claims that updates for such systems are free; though operator's network charged may belie that. They do have a point about utilising social-networks to provide up-to-date information, which could prove useful depending on the quality of the society providing the network.
Right now most GPS systems in Europe are stand-alone, with GPS on phones being an occasionally-useful novelty: offering free updates won't change how people consider GPS, but if anyone can deliver on the social networking potential then stand-along equipment might quickly start to look dated.®
GPS on - Brain off?
I don't have a problem with road information being outdated or less than perfect, it's no different from paper maps. Anyone who follows either without thinking, watching the road, or reading signs gets what they get.
On the other hand, I'm amazed how old much of the GPS "information" is. As an example, the Post Office in my town moved in 1987 and the current databases use that address. To put this in perspective, the company that built the digital map did not exist at the time the P.O. moved!
I totally agree with George.
I upgraded my tomtom software lately and so wish I hadn't. I notice no fixes to the map errors that make my life awkward on a regular basis.
I know of at least 5 map errors within a 5 mile radius of my house in london on routes I regularly use. Mainly roads marked as one way the wrong way or roads that it thinks you can drive down but are blocked. All of them as far as I am aware have been how they have been for years - one at least 20 years. This is in london, on junctions to major roads.
What I don't understand is why they do not put something in the software to report map errors. They already do a similar thing to report speed cameras.
Road atlases aren't infallible either...
Especially, if like my father-in-law, the road atlas in your car is from 1967, and doesn't even have motorways on it. :-)