Jan 12, 2010

Droid GPS

I've been travelling and thus the lack of an update yesterday. I had planned to be in Hiawassee, GA with plenty of time to do some work, however things took a turn for the worse when travelling in Tennessee on 64 through the Chattahoochee National Forest (I think I have that right?). 64 is one of the few ways to cut across the Appalachians and after driving for about 5 hours and expecting about an hour and a half left on our trip we hit a 'Road Closed' sign. No indication of what's wrong... and no follow up detour signs (God forbid the Tennessee DOT actually have a COMPLETE detour route) left us leaving the forest to the north of where we entered and 2 hours tacked on to our trip.

First, it was neat being able to look up and find out that a rock slide that occurred last November caused the road closure. Unfortunately, 64 is a pretty maor road given the lack of choices through the moutains.

Second, Google Naviation and thus the Droid's GPS doesn't like the rural mountains of eastern Tennessee/western North Carolina. It really didn't seem to have much of a clue at to where to go, but more importantly it wanted us to keep turning around and taking 64. It would be nice if there was a way to say "Hey, I'm not using 64 for whatever the reason!", but I'm unaware of one.

Third, it kept wanting me to turn around... but Google Navigation apparently thinks you have to drive to the end of a dead end road to turn around instead of using a conveniece store parking lot or a U-Turn. It was fascinating seeing the dumb thing leads me 3 miles ahead, right on a dead end, only to turn around and head back the 3 miles.

Finally, when I lost my data signal I had no more mapping with my GPS. It would be nice if it cached the general area vs. assuming I'll always have a rock solid signal. Verizon may have the largest 3G calling network, but there are places where there's no signal.

This in no way means I'm not happy with my Droid as a GPS. It just notes some shortcomings. I really wouldn't have expected more at this point, but was also unaware of some of these issues. I'm not the kind of driver that 100% relies on a computer to tell him where to go. I like to know my area and I also like to try to find my way based on things like the sun. Usually it works out because there are enough roads/choices, but with the route yesterday I met my match.

We've come a long way, but there's plenty more to do. And wouldn't it be freakin' awesome if Google Naviagtion was AWARE of road closures from the various DOTs? And for those looking for their daily game review I have two updates scheduled for later today to make up for yesterday.

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