08/03/08 314 W, 1 I - + 8 - 9 Adventures in Navigation


Eight months after a purchasing a GPS navigation unit, I finally took the thing on a trip. The Garmin StreetPilot c330-- since discontinued and supplanted by smaller, snazzier models-- has two modes of navigation: shorter time or shorter distance. Mine was set on shorter time, as the unit was used for finding fire scenes. The first thing I learned? Change the setting to shorter distance, or be directed onto smaller roads instead of the major roads listed on my trusty AAA TripTik.1

The next challenge was listening to the thing. Some dozen times, it said "turn here" and I didn't. Usually, this happened in an urban or freeway area, with a number of intersecting streets close together. "Turn here" said the soothing British female, but I would hestitate. Did she mean turn here, or at the street some yards ahead? Well, she meant exactly there. More than a couple times I circled one or more blocks, having missed the initial turn.2

One other thing I learned was that I could enter intersections, instead of block numbers. This would have been very helpful while trying to find old engine houses in Baltimore. Alas, I didn't discover this feature until somewhere in Charlottesville. And on the subject of this particular model, my patience was tested by its inability to remember the city last entered.3 That was a royal pain.

1While navigating south from Front Royal, VA, the thing took me through the mountains on a couple miles of winding gravel road. Needless to say, this was unexpected.

2And some turns were missed because I wasn't paying attention. Since my wife wasn't with me, I am willing to admit that fact.

3The thing remembered the last state entered, just not the last city. I am looking at Tom Tom as a possible upgrade. Need to try one in person.







  
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