Who has never fallen into a trap because of the GPS cast the first stone. Blindly trusting apps like Waze, Google Maps and Apple Maps can lead to disastrous consequences — like stopping in a completely different city or getting lost in the middle of nowhere, for example. The security in routing applications is so great that users end up experiencing similar problems during use, which are routinely due to communication failures or updates. So, here are five “perrengues” that everyone has gone through with GPS (and how to avoid them).
READ: 7 Useful Google Maps Features You Should Know
See five common pitfalls caused by GPS apps and how to avoid them — Photo: Marcela Franco/TechTudo
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Everyone has gone through the situation of getting in the car, putting the route in the app and starting the route with confidence — until you run out of internet signal halfway. The situation is even worse when traveling long distances, where a wrong entry can mean extra hours of driving.
The way to prevent the mishap from happening again is to try to take precautions. Before leaving home, use the Wi-Fi network to download the map from Google Maps to navigate offline. In Waze, which does not bring the function natively, it is necessary to do a trick and save the itinerary in cache. In both apps, you can use features on Android and iPhone (iOS).
Downloading an offline map avoids being without access to the route if the internet goes down — Photo: Reproduction/Marcela Franco
2. GPS took you to the wrong place
Streets, neighborhoods and cities with similar names can cause confusion when driving with GPS. After all, typing the destination place in the app and tapping on the first option without properly reading what the location was is a common problem. Sometimes the error is identified midway, but the failure can only be discovered when you arrive at the wrong place.
In order not to go through this, it is important to carefully read whether the intended neighborhood, city and state were actually selected as the final destination, and not another similar place. If you know the place, even a little, it’s worth checking the address selected from Street View.
Typing the wrong name or selecting another place with a similar name is a common mistake in GPS apps — Photo: Reproduction/Raquel Freire
3. Redirected the route to a longer path/traffic
Certainly the app has already recommended you a much longer route than necessary, at least once. It is even possible that you have indicated a route with much more traffic, in order to make you arrive at your destination late.
These situations are common and can happen for a variety of reasons. To understand this, it is necessary to know that the location of a car is determined by signals emitted by GPS satellites. They arrive at GPS receivers, located on the cell phone or in the car’s navigation device, which use triangulation to determine the user’s location and display it on the application’s map.
From there, the software evaluates location information — as well as traffic data, road status, etc. — to plot the route. The problem is that if any of the communication points described above fail, the path will not be as efficient as possible.
Loss of GPS signal can make a map app suggest a longer route or with more traffic — Photo: Reproduction/Raquel Freire
For example, Waze calculates the route at a time when a main avenue is jammed, which makes the app suggest a long detour. If, a short time later, he loses the GPS connection and is unable to receive the information that the lane is already clear, it may be that the detour path is the one with the traffic jam.
To avoid such errors, the solution can be to keep two map systems open, such as Waze itself and Google Maps. That way, you can compare routes and better identify when one of them is out of date. That way, you can choose the best route.
4. GPS offered shortcuts through dangerous places
Stopping at a disreputable location is a big fear of users when it comes to route app. In addition to communication errors, the GPS can indicate a dangerous place due to lack of map update, either due to changes in the roads or due to the absence of data about a specific area.
The list of accidents caused by this type of failure is long. In June 2011, GPS guided three women to the bottom of a lake in the city of Bellevue, in the United States. The driver, who was driving at night, could not see that she had left the road and only realized the mistake when the car reached the water.
GPS failure can lead to dangerous places, such as the bottom of a lake.
The three were unharmed, but the ending is not always happy. In 2009, a wrong route left Alicia Sanchez and her six-year-old son stranded for a week on the sands of Death Valley National Park in eastern California, a hot, dry place. The result was tragic: the child died two days before his mother was rescued, in a state of deep dehydration.
In this type of situation, tragedy must be avoided by paying extra attention to the place. Instead of blindly relying on GPS, look around at signs, drive carefully and, if possible, stop and ask for directions.
5. Suggested route with uninformed blocking
Driving for several kilometers and then finding out that you would have to go all the way back due to a roadblock knows how bad this situation is. This is because while apps are updated in real time, sudden changes in the road can take time to report.
At the beginning of the year, one of the cases with great repercussion on social networks was the interdiction of the BR-040, at the time of Nova Lima (MG), caused by the overflow of mud in the Pau Branco Mine, owned by the Vallourec mining company. The apps took a while to notify the block, which forced drivers to detour through other paths to reach the mining capital.
To make matters worse, the heavy rains on January 8 ended up interdicting other adjacent routes, impossible to be identified using GPS apps — including because the Internet signal practically didn’t work.
Having more than one active GPS system can also help in these cases, especially collaborative ones. Waze, for example, has a strong community of drivers who report problems on the road quickly.
with information from BBC , heat, G1, ListVerse
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