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GPS addiction ?

Can you still find your home without GPS?

This is what happens when GPS is wrong

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According to Daily Mail Australia, A man, 37, found himself stranded near the peak at Bergun, Switzerland, after he was directed up a ‘glorified goat track’.

Actually, he was just doing what most people would do, driving his car and following the instructions of his GPS. But the only problem was, he did not think critically about GPS technology in the case that he blindly trusted his GPS gadget instead of comparing with a map. Finally his GPS led him to a read where he couldn’t get out. 18mnssamxz7p1jpg

He kept hoping that he’d be brought back to the main road but the GPS kept saying to go forward. He kept following his GPS device until he couldn’t go forward or turn back around. Finally he was stuck on top of a mountain, he called for help and got flown out via helicopter. A fireman likened the road Ziegler got stuck on as a “glorified goat track”.

From my perspective, I think the SatNav devices are only as good as the maps in them. The maps have to come from somewhere, and it is usually the same sources that the paper maps use. I’ve found that nearly all mapping errors are replicated between my TomTom, Google Maps and the commercial paper maps for the region. Whatever map system you use, you must back it up with a good dose of common sense. Remember you can still read road signs, and look at the condition of the road to determine if you should go there. Also with SatNav you can still stop and browse the map to get an idea if there may be a better route, just as you would have to do with paper.

Reference:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1315762/White-van-man-airlifted-safety-satnav-sends-mountain.html

How to improve your sense of direction? 2

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No one is supposed to get lost these days. All smart phones have maps and compasses on them. But phones have a way of losing their signals when you most need them. every time I drive through a tunnel while using GPS in my phone to navigate, it always cuts out on me in the tunnel, and then all I can do is blindly driving until getting out of the tunnel or randomly picking an exit and navigating again at the outside. People who have strong sense of direction wouldn’t spend any additional time on finding routes From the deeper research about how to improve sense of direction, here are some tips for people who often get lost and cannot figure out where they are.

First of all, the best thing you can do, locally, is look for landmarks. For instance, which side of your building faces north? It is easy to figure that out, then you can grow it. In common, cities are usually laid out in north or south orientations, so think about where you are in the city (if you get lost in city), turn towards where you think north is, and think about where others things should be. From here, you will start to build a sense that won’t often fail you. Then you can add things in like figuring out which direction the sun should be coming from. (Common sense) If it is morning, the sun rises in the east, so if you stand with you right shoulder facing the sun you should be facing north.

Another way to practice and develop your sense of direction is, when you are going somewhere new, spend some time with Google Street View and practice your routes. Visually familiarize yourself with, for example, the path from the train station to your friend’s house, or your hotel to that cozy breakfast place. Then, if you are going to stay in that new place for a while, start collecting landmarks around there, which can be everything that helps you to recognize the route.

Furthermore, there are some other people who develop their simple mental map by always memorizing which way something big is. Like” I know this is east because this is the east garden.” Or “I always travel south to go to work.” From there you begin to notice what streets are parallel to other streets. Eventually you will usually know which direction you are going.

Finally, the most important thing is that put the GPS away, don’t take it out again!

Did you ever concern your privacy while using GPS?

Nowadays, the GPS positioning system is getting more and more pervasive. It is used in our vehicles and cell phones to help us get around, especially handy and convenient when we are lost, or looking for an address. Like cell phones and email, the GPS technology has become a part of our lives that we probably wouldn’t even know how to live without.

By using the GPS via your car or cell phone or just buying a car or phone with the technology built in, you are consenting to use a government-owned tracking system. This, in turn, means every time you use GPS to navigate your route, you are willingly sharing your location information.

Not only that,  according to ABC news, another new privacy issue based on GPS system that affects anyone who has ever posted a photo online.  New GPS technology in cameras and cell phones can tell exactly where those photos were taken, and it can be just as dangerous and posting you home address for anyone to see. For people who are using the device with this kind of technology built in, most of them don’t know their pictures can be a roadmap to their location, and this can potentially be dangerous for them. It is a helpful feature when you are trying to navigate your route or find a particular picture is from your bike trip to somewhere. But imagine that if you are a thief or stalker, you can easily stalk the person by looking at his or her picture’s detail.

If you are someone who concerns personal privacy. Then, try to at least turn off your GPS devices or GPS features in your phone occasionally. Otherwise, you are unintentionally exposing yourself to the public at every single moment.

GPS vs Privacy – United States v. Jones

United States v. Jones was a really famous case that questioned the Constitution’s meaning in light of modern surveillance technology. The facts of the case is the narcotics conviction of a Washington, D.C., nightclub owner that a federal appeals court threw out because prosecutors learned of his visits to a house where drugs were trafficked through a tracking device installed without a valid warrant.

More broadly, the case asks what privacy expectations are reasonable in an era when Americans surround themselves with digital devices that constantly log their movements in computer databases.

According to Neal Devin, director of the Institute of Bill of Rights Law at the College of William & Mary, we live in a world where there’s a greater sense that people can figure out where you are and what you’re doing. If the court sides with the government, he said, “the police can take advantage of new technologies however they want.”

The good news of the case was the court affirmed the judgment of the lower court, and held that the installation of a GPS tracking device on Jones’ vehicle, without a warrant, constituted an unlawful search under the Fourth Amendment. The Court rejected the government’s argument that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in person’s movement on public thoroughfares and emphasized that the Fourth Amendment provided some protection for trespass onto personal property.

From my perspective, I think with the development of technology, human’s privacy is getting more and more transparent especially for the government. The government can take advantage of new technology such as GPS positioning to do whatever they want. The invasion of personal privacy seems to be inevitable. In terms of this case, there is a social problem, how to make a balance between the use of GPS tracking system on respondent’s vehicle and the personal privacy of the respondent?  The video below detailedly talks about this case, also claimed many other social problems about using GPS tracking system.  

Business owners began tracking their employees

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Is it even legal?

GPS vehicle tracking is becoming more common in work place. Over the last few years the costs involved with installing GPS tracking devices in work vehicles has decreased, allowing some medium business owners to begin tracking their employees.

However, while using GPS technology to track the movements of employees may sound like a good idea, it not without risk to business owner.

In NSW, if the surveillance of work vehicles is not compliant with the Workplace Surveillance Act, it is considered as ‘covert surveillance’ (“the act”) and illegal unless it is authorised by Magistrate. Furthermore, any evidence that have been collected by using covert surveillance will not be able to be used in any subsequent proceeding. For example, it is not valuable to defend an unfair dismissal claim.

According to Turnbull Hill Lawyers, if the owner wants to be compliant with the Act, surveillance via GPS tracking must not be used before giving the prior notice to each of the affected employees, which must be given as least 14 days before surveillance.

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The disadvantages of using GPS tracking in work vehicles.

Many people consider the act of tracking vehicles to be an invasion of privacy. When many businesses started using GPS tracking, employees become angry and stated that they felt like the company no longer trusted them. Some of them felt that by tracking where they travelled for work, the company was kind of questioning their loyalty. Many employees also felt that it was an invasion of their rights. Honestly, if I am working with a vehicle that has GPS tracking, I must be really productive and efficient, but I will not be working in this company for too time no matter how much wage they give me, because I hate being watched or tracked while I’m doing my job.

Are there any disadvantages of GPS?

GPS stands for global positioning system which was created by US department of defence for the navigation of military in any part of world under circumstances. While GPS technology has greatly improved our lives, and more importantly advanced communicating around the globe, there are some issues with using the technology.

Battery life of GPS devices

One issue with GPS is the short battery life that many devices have, such as the most frequently used device, IPhone. Having a short battery life may limit the time you can spend in the field. It may also be a safety issue if you get lost. The worse thing is short battery life GPS is potential to leave you alone in the middle of nowhere. Remember last time I drove to another suburb which took me around 30 mins on the way, when I drove back to home, my GPS (IPhone) cut out on me. I was so lost, I stopped still for a really long while and tried to figure out the way back to home. Finally, it took me more than an hour to go back to home. So, only use GPS products that have a long battery life or include additional batteries could be a solution for this problem.

Inaccuracy and local knowledge

Sometimes the GPS signals are not accurate due to some obstacles to the signals such as buildings, trees and sometimes by extreme atmospheric conditions such as geomagnetic storms. Furthermore, a GPS route won’t reveal if a stretch of road has great views, is closed for the day or is potentially hazardous to drive through at certain hours. So, relying on a GPS to navigate you route instead of deciding where to go through gathering information from local sources such as web, locals, or road signs can lead to significant errors in decision as the driver blindly trust GPS.

Potential Hazards

It is very common to see a driver fiddles with the unit’s screen while you are seating in a car. There is always a temptation to the unit’s screen while driving, and dividing attention between the road and the GPS. This has potential to cause disaster, which is like news that I wrote in another blog, GPS directed driver off abandoned Indiana Bridge. The driver was likely paying more attention to his GPS than the road, even though the road was marked with large signs “road closed”.

How to improve your sense of direction?

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Why is it that some of us know instinctively where to go and others wander around without a clue? Some researchers believe the answer lies deep within the brain, embodied by an actual “sense” of direction than can be resurrected and trained. As we know, humans’ sense of direction and ability to navigate has been a crucial survival tool for us. However, there are still some people who habitually get lost in parking garages and spend a lot of time staring at street signs with an exasperated look. I am always one of these guys, so I have unintentionally started finding how to improve the sense of direction, since the first time I got confused about street signs and got lost in some tunnels. Here are some tips from my research on how to improve your ability to figure out where you are and how to get to your intended destination.

The first thing you need to do is to stop relying too much on the GPS. Some neuroscientists believe that as we become increasingly dependent upon that gadget on the dashboard to tell us where to go, our ability to form mental maps increasingly may atrophy. Actually, sometime it is really scary as it seems, from my personal experience, I always put on GPS to go somewhere even though sometimes I know where exactly the these places are. And there was one day, my GPS accidently cut off on me and left me in the middle of nowhere. Eventually, I called my friends and picked me up. So, try turning your GPS off at least occasionally and using your own senses, memory and imagination to get to where you are going.

Secondly, you need to start looking at what is around you. People have become so accustomed to using GPS and following lists of directions that we often ignore our surroundings, which deprives us of the visual data that we need to form associations and mentally map our surroundings. So one of the best ways to improve your sense of direction is that try to notice and remember features of the environment from now on, such as distinctive buildings, trees, monuments, landscaping, and this will eventually help you to form a more detailed mental picture.

Finally, you have to train you brain. According to Ausim Azizi, the neurologist in Temple University, he says that there are two modes of mental navigation—utilizing landmarks to memorize directions, and calculating distances, such as remembering to go 50 yards to the north and then 50 yards to the east. However, he best way to improve your navigational abilities is to practice using both of these methods at once. He suggests picking a landmark, looking at it, and then locating it on a map, so that you can calibrate your ability to calculate distance as well.

GPS directed driver off abandoned Indiana bridge and distracted another driver who eventually killed four people

Since GPS was widely and frequently used by people, it had caused many accidents to people. In this year March, an out-of-town driver following his car’s outdated GPS system drove off of a demolished Indiana bridge, which is eventually killing his wife in the passenger seat.

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Iftifhar Hussain, 64, drove the couple’s 2014 Nissan Sentra off East Chicago’s Cline Avenue bridge, which closed in 2009 and is barricaded with bright orange barrels and cones. The car burst into flames after the 37-foot plunge into pavement below.

The report claimed he was likely following directions from his GPS navigation system, which instructed him to turn onto a ramp to the now-demolished bridge over the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal. The couple, from Chicago, was driving to visit family in Indiana and likely didn’t know the area.

For what happened to them, all because the guy was likely paying more attention to his GPS than the road. While the road leading up to the bridge is marked with large signs that read “road closed”, he was not paying too much attention on the sign instead of looking at the GPS. Eventually, he fell from the bridge.

Another accident that happened in Australia in this year is that a driver who caused a crash in which four people died while being distracted by his GPS. He had failed to give way at an intersection leading onto the Prices Highway and his vehicle hit a truck, which then struck a four-wheel drive.

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The local news claimed that the driver was distracted by his GPS for about 10 seconds prior to crash. Also, his decision to take his eyes off an unfamiliar road for an extended period of time was grossly negligent.

Relying too much on GPS has potential to eventually cause harm to people. So, it won’t be a bad thing for any of you to walk around in your city and start practicing your own sense of direction.

References:

ABC NEWS, 2015, Driver distracted by GPS in accident that killed four family members in South Australia’s south-east. [Online]Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-10/driver-distracted-by-gps-in-smash-that-killed-doyle-family/6296590

Wagner, M. 2015. Outdated GPS directed driver off abandoned Indiana bridge, killing wife in 37-foot plunge: deputies. DAILY NEWS. [Online] Available at: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/gps-told-man-drive-indiana-bridge-cops-article-1.2166855

Your GPS tracker can cause more harm than good!!!

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I have a collection of running watches that have served me well in past couple years. Jawbone is my favourite one among all of these GPS devices. For me, it has been a really useful tool for pacing and for monitoring distance or the sleep detection. At first, I thought GPS devices are brilliant tools, as long as they are used wisely. However, you never know these GPS devices still have drawbacks before they eventually do damages to your body. For Jawbone, the user needs to download an App which is a social network platform, people who use Jawbone all have their own data saved into this platform. Once you log into this APP, you will be asked to add your friends who are also using this device on your page, then here we start the competition with our friends.

Comparing our progress against our friends or others is not bad at all, it definitely gives us more motivations. However, the obsession of GPS figures and stats can easily mislead people. For example, I plan to have a long, slow distance recovery run, but I am feeling good (not tired at all) while my watch is telling me my pace is good, what I will do next is pushing myself and increasing the score(distance). At the end of the workout, the figures are admirable; I upload them and let my friends admire. But I missed the point of run, which was to recover.

Another drawback of using GPS fitness devices is being obsessive with GPS tracking, especially with making data public. People keep training to keep their log looking good, especially on public social platform such as Jawbone APP where their friends are watching what they are doing. However, Sydney physiotherapist Mark Green and his colleagues at the Body Mechanic have found a correlation between the amount of data people record and their likelihood of getting injured.

Knee-injury

“It’s anecdotal in the clinic, but you can almost put money on the people who come in with overuse injuries having trained with two or three different devices recording their sessions,” Green says.

So, while we are frequently using GPS fitness devices such as Jawbone or fitbit, we still have to listen to our body, try to avoid any overuse. Also, stop pushing yourself if your knee is sore, you should probably have a day off and try to work out what’s wrong with it.

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