GPS Systems and Mapping Software

I still carry a paper map in my car. I also know that I am among the few to do so. Nowadays, many people have shelled out the couple of hundred dollars necessary to carry a portable GPS system in their vehicles, which they happily affix to the windshield of their car. Still, others will pay upwards of thousands of dollars to have their vehicles come with built in GPS software. Like I said; I carry a paper map. In some ways, however, having a GPS is much more convenient- if not more accurate than having a paper map.

While having a paper map only costs $ 15 versus $ 250, it is not always as accurate as having a GPS system. In this day and age, there are more people populating cities across the country. Not only this, but in addition to an increased population; increased population means that there are constantly new homes being built on new streets that never existed before. Therefore, GPS systems are quicker to update you on areas that before were never populated. Paper maps simply cannot keep up. I would certainly not want to be caught in the middle of the day or night trying to find a street on a map that doesn’t exist because my map is “old”.

GPS systems are also extremely helpful in the fact that they reduce the distraction of you, the driver, having to think while you are driving. What do I mean by this? GPS systems provide turn-by-turn directions audibly to guide you to where you are going. What’s even better is the fact that if you accidentally miss your turn, the GPS will not only pick up on this, it will actually re-direct you! What a novel idea! There are also GPS systems that have voice recognition built in. You can upload the GPS system with the names, addresses and phone numbers of loved ones and then talk to your GPS system to tell it to call someone or give you directions to someone’s house.

So, have we seen the death of paper maps? No, not yet. People still purchase paper maps on an as-needed basis. For instance, if they are renting a car or have forgotten their GPS or don’t want to bring their GPS system with them for fear of it being stolen or somehow getting damaged. GPS systems have only increased in popularity in the past couple of years. As they become more and more affordable for the everyday person, I am sure that it will only be a matter of time before everyone and their mother has one. For some older people, GPS systems are a little too “technological” for them. They have trouble figuring out how to use all of the buttons and features. I know of one person who is in their 50s and received a portable GPS unit from her son because she is bad with directions. However, that GPS unit has stayed in the middle console of her car, untouched.