Thursday, February 3, 2011

Why You Need A Map

The Sacramento Bee recently published a story called Death by GPS. It recounts stories of people that went for a drive in the desert and got stuck after following GPS directions down a jeep trail. Some of these people never made it back again.

The problem is that many people are relying on their GPS to lead them safely to their destination. Very few people bother to carry a physical map with them any more. They ask the GPS to give them the shortest route which it does regardless of whether the road is in fact passable in a family vehicle. Some roads are not maintained or no longer exist. When they get stuck, they find that they are miles away from the nearest help and have no cell phone signal. Should they try to walk out, they don't know which way to go. Is it quickest to follow the road back or to try to walk over that little hill. It is very easy to get lost and if they have no water this can lead to a tragic conclusion.

"You Need A Map" was created with this situation in mind. You can download this app to your computer with iTunes and then sync it to your iPhone or iPad 3G the next time you take a driving trip. This one app can show you where you are and where the nearest major road is located. The app can create a waypoint on the road and draw a bearing line from your current location to the waypoint. It will show you every hill and stream between you and your destination. These are things that a paper map cannot do. The app does not need an internet connection so it will work anywhere in the USA.

On your next trip, bring water, bring tire chains, bring an emergency kit, bring a flashlight, bring a paper map and bring You Need A Map.

Black Rock Desert, Nevada

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