I try not to have inanimate objects as best friends, but… my GPS helps me out of binds, gets me where I am going and tells me when I’ll arrive. It makes my life better. Now there are more functions, there is an ECO mode – helping you find the most gas saving route (Garmin) and there are GPS that will help you with a walking route. This is a great plus in a new city, for bike riders, and hike leaders and more.
I love to go hiking, and often head towards new parks, and used to get lost all the time. My GPS routes me there easily, using the actual address, intersection or GPS coordinates (thanks Google Maps for this technology.)
What does it cost? Costco has dropped the price significantly on GPS devices and is offering rebates as well: Magellan 1440 costs 109.99 and has a $30 instant rebate, GARMIN 265WT is now $149 with a $20 rebate.. it was $249 in March ’09, and even at the higher price it has been worth every penny. Costco also backs the products they sell, which is a major PLUS when using a GPS or any techy gadget.
Having the “Go Home” feature is also an important safety feature, if you don’t know where you are, but need to get moving now(maybe you’re in a spooky parking lot, have accidentally driven into “gangland” , on a dangerous part of highway, or boxed in by construction and stuck – I have done all these!) you can always press Go Home. The GPS will route you quickly towards your home, and soon enough things will start to look familar because if you are close, you’ll be headed toward an area you know and if you are far away from home, you’ll be routed onto a major road. All good, and a great way to move to a safer locale.
You can even play games with your GPS…. encounter traffic, turn off the set route and let it figure out where you are and how to get home, or switch the language to French or Spanish for a brain workout.
A little hint: this technology is spectacular, but a paper map is an important back-up, because some areas (notably Grass Valley, San Carlos hills and more) do not have signals or service and you’ll be “dropped off”. Even then, you can use the GPS compass and street map to figure out where to go or what direction to head.
Hats off to GPS… every bit as important as the toaster, cordless phone, microwave, radial tires, thumb drives and social media.