General Question

tinyfaery's avatar

Why is everyone obssesed with GPS?

Asked by tinyfaery (43513points) July 11th, 2008

I’m not the type of person that gets lost. I am familiar with the area I live in (and most of L.A. for that matter). If I’m not sure where I’m going I mapquest it; I used to look in the Thomas Guide. Remeber those? I just don’t need turn by turn directions everywhere I go. I don’t get it. What’s the big whoop?

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27 Answers

kevbo's avatar

I don’t get it either. I prefer relying on my brain (or a map) and asking for directions.

simon's avatar

paranoia + laziness = gps

Of course when I travel i’ve got to have one.

jrpowell's avatar

Some people suck at directions. It helps them. It isn’t always about you. I rock at math but I’m glad we have calculators for people that need them.

tinyfaery's avatar

Yikes jp. I wasn’t being superior; just stating one of the reasons I don’t understand the need.

tinyfaery's avatar

What did everyone do before GPS? Wander around lost? I don’t think so. Everyone was able to get to where they needed to go 10 years ago. Why the need all of a sudden?

TheHaight's avatar

Like what JP said, people suck at directions (including myself). I’m always getting lost, and my human gps is usually my father and sometimes I can’t get ahold of him so that’s were gps would come into play. Also my boyfriend and I are always going out of town so gps would be very helpful for us (we do use mapquest, but have gotten lost from mapquest a few times because of wrong directions)

Its just helpful, that’s all..

jrpowell's avatar

sorry if that sounded bad/abrasive. That wasn’t my intention.

tinyfaery's avatar

So its just easier than writing down directions, or following a regular map? Makes sense.

Not to be ageist, but I’m going to guess that a lot of GPS users under the age of 25. This generation is accustomed to getting information via electronic devices. I’m just a bit older than that well, maybe more than a bit…or 2 and I would sooner use a map (I do still have maps in my car) or figure it out on my own. (I like to be adventurous. If I know the general area I’ll attempt to find the exact location on my own. I always get there.). And I do use mapquest. I’d be interested to see some statistics on the matter. I’m a nerd like that.

gailcalled's avatar

@tiny: I am a bit older than 25 also and always keep road maps of my county and an Atlas in car. On the rare occasion that I take a long trip alone, I’ll still get directions from AAA or mapquest.

And I was born with (as are all the women in my family) the “getting lost” gene. I cannot imagine having to update or program yet another device and then drive into a ditch while I am trying to read it while semis are passing me at 80 mph.

PupnTaco's avatar

It’s a convenience, no more or less. However, when combined with clever software, GPS can be a huge enhancement to traveling in an unfamiliar area. Its use frees me up from having to figure out where I am and more easily notice things – architectural details, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and the like.

TheHaight's avatar

Actually, the only people I know to use GPS right now are my grandparents (in their 80s) and my dad. Also other older people as well. I don’t know one young kid in their 20s, so… Yep. Just my opinion though.

tinyfaery's avatar

That’s funny. My grandmother in-law (is that a thing?) bought one but couldn’t figure out how to use it. My spouse’s uncle also has one, but it takes him 20 minutes to program. He could be there in the time it takes him to figure out how to use it.

monsoon's avatar

anyone think it’s safer if you’re in a hurry? Me using my first gen iPhone and google maps to navigate in the car scares my passengers, and I happen to be awesome with directions.

Besides that, though, I wish I could get all the travel apps for the new iphone software that use it to show you things around you.

richardhenry's avatar

“What did everyone do before GPS? Wander around lost?” – tinyfaery

I don’t understand what you’re asking. People used maps. Maps have been around for thousands of years. People often travel farther than the place that they live, and maps are very useful for that.

GPS is a replacement for a map, in the same way that the refrigerator replaced the ice shed. You’re reacting to GPS tools as if they are a novelty, which to most people, they aren’t. Delivery companies save millions per year in fuel and time because their drivers aren’t having to either (a) spend time pulling over to read maps (b) driving up the wrong one way road.

“paranoia + laziness = gps” – simon

Umm yeah, but only if you feel the need to check where you are 24/7. Like you said Simon, it’s a very useful traveling tool, and I really don’t think the use of GPS necessarily makes you lazy.

gailcalled's avatar

The other wonderful resource is the gas station you have passed for the third time (or the guy walking his dog). Stop and ask for directions (unless you have the Y chromosome.)

PupnTaco's avatar

Good answer RH

TheHaight's avatar

I agree, very good answer rh

simon's avatar

I’m paranoid about getting lost and I like to be lazy and not have to concentrate about where I’m going or where I need to turn. It’s a commentary, perhaps glib, about why I use one not so much an explanation for everyone.

noraasnave's avatar

I know why every Marine here in a Iraq is obsessed with them. So you can call in medevac to the right location, so you can tell everyone where IEDs are, so other US units can track you so they don’t shoot you on accident.

In America: Don’t own one. If I am lost I just stop and ask for directions…DUH! I don’t have to worry about IEDs or friendly artillery in America.

tinyfaery's avatar

@rh I asked that question after jp said “some people suck at directions.” There is a difference between a map and gps. gps gives you turn by turn directions, on a map you have to look it up yourself.

I had no idea this question would lead to such serious answers.

@noraas What did the military do before gps?

richardhenry's avatar

@tinyfaery: They used maps and shared the location of waypoints and other intelligence over radio.

richardhenry's avatar

Plus, I still don’t understand your question. Do you know people who use a GPS unit all the time or something? Because the people I know only use them when they’re headed somewhere they completely don’t know, which to me hardly qualifies as an ‘obsession’.

tinyfaery's avatar

I was asking because everyone is obsessed (yes, I’m using that word again) with the new iphone. Besides speed (which I’m satisfied with), GPS is the only difference. So, it got me wondering what’s so important about GPS?

Maybe that’s how I should have worded my question.

gailcalled's avatar

@tiny; not everyone. No one that I know or saw in town today mentioned it. (pop.3000)

UPS called me last week because they couldn’t find my address in order to deliver. I had to change a private drive with two houses on it to a real street due to 911 issues. I explained this to driver and he said, “Oh, do you live next to (insert my neighbor’s name here)? So I live on Chicory Lane now, and all the chicory is now bloooming, and the name is on no maps.

monsoon's avatar

I want the app vicinity. It will use your gps to find your exact location, then use a combination of google maps and wikipedia to either look up anything you could need within blocks (or your city, whichever you need), or show you just I teresting things near you that are from wikipedia. I love the apps that have done this with the old iPhones pinpointing ability, but the gps brings this to a whole new level. Very convenient to some one living in an urban area (like me), who can’t know where everything in a city is, or who wants to discover new things

ninjaxmarc's avatar

GPS just because its easier than a map.
recalculates when you get lost.
Lost = wasting time and gas which are both worth something.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Everything is not for everybody.

You obviously fall among the group of people who have no use for gps…there’s nothing for you to “get”.

I, on the other hand, love gadgets. I love anything that does something nifty when you push, click or press a button.

I also love not getting lost. There’s nothing more annoying to the people I love…and myself…than being on a long drive with me continually worrying about the route, checking for the next exit, trying to figure how much farther to go, etc. I make myself and those traveling with me a nervous wreck way before we get to where we’re going.

So, the mobile gps combines my love for gadgetry with my fear of getting lost to produce a highly useful device that reliably directs me from point A to point B (or C or F and back) while simultaneously providing me with all the useful info I previously fretted over.

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