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GPS……Do you really need it?

Global Positioning System, or just simply GPS is becoming as pervasive in our society as the ubiquitous cell phone has become. GPS is rapidly replacing and making extinct the art of map reading. In my opinion this is an absolute travesty. It is getting to the point that we can’t think for ourselves any more. We depend on some lady trapped inside a black box to tell us where to go. Not me! I’m an expert map reader and plan to stay that way, at least for now.

GPS units

In my younger years, I made my living flying light attack jets for the Navy. We had to use maps called Sectional Charts, to plot and fly low level navigational routes solely by reference to those charts and the ground. The flights were done at 500 miles per hour at 500 feet above the ground. I didn’t need no ‘stinking GPS’ to get to where I was going at high speed. So why do I need some lady I don’t know telling me where to go now? I can still read maps and get to my destination, I just can’t go 500 miles per hour!

A little low level high speed flying without GPS.
Low level jet flying
Okay. All of you flying experts are correct. That isn’t a Navy jet but it was the only picture I could come up with on short notice.

There is another thing that we will be missing out on when these GPS units take over the world. There will be no excuse for getting lost, or in my case becoming temporarily disoriented. My wife will never have to say, “you really don’t know where you are do you”? And I will never be able to say, “I’m not lost, I’m just temporarily disoriented and I will recover shortly”. I will no longer have to put up with my wife badgering me to stop and ask someone for directions. What an insult to an expert map reader!

Eventhough I am pretty much a technology person, I’m always a little slow on picking up on some of the new gadgets, simply because I’m cheap. I’d rather wait to buy something after the bugs have been worked out and the prices have come down to a reasonable level. Like I said…I’m cheap! Someone send me one for evaluation and I’ll be happy to use it.

This GPS thing is okay, I guess. It should always get you where you want to go, it just may not take you on a route that is the most advantageous. As an example. I was with my daughter in her car with one of those in dash GPS systems. On a return trip from about 100 miles away, the GPS wanted to send us down south on one freeway and then across to another freeway and then back up north to where I live. We ignored the directions because I know the shortest route. When you ignore the lady in the box, she becomes indignate at times and reroutes you. Instead of sending us straight ahead to the freeway I wanted, she wanted us to now turn north so that we would then have had to pick up the freeway and go south. Such a deal! Well I ignored the lady in the box but we made friends again when we got to I 45. I guess I showed her a thing or two!

All in all, the GPS is a good system and I will be forced into buying one since we travel as much as we do in the camper. I’m just going to miss having the road map spread across the steering wheel while my wife screams that I’m going to kill all of us. She just forgets that I use to do that at 500 miles per hour.


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