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GPS addiction ?

Can you still find your home without GPS?

Why is GPS data sometimes inaccurate?

GPS was Initially developed for military use, which is now part of everyday life; used in mobile phones, in car navigation and search and rescue equipment. It can provide your location, altitude, and speed, However,as we know that GPS is not accurate all the time, sometimes it losses signal and cuts out on their users, eventually leaves them in middle of nowhere. So over here, I will talk about why is GPS data sometimes inaccurate?

gps

Not enough satellites

GPS typically need to receive signals from at least 7 or 8 satellites to calculate to within about 10 meters. With fewer satellites contributing, the amount of uncertainty and inaccuracy increases. With fewer than 4 satellites, many GPS receivers are unable to produce any location estimates, and will report “GPS signal lost”. The GPS unit is usually looking to find and acquire signals from more satellites, so should eventually recover from situations where not enough satellites are found.

Signal obstruction

Buildings, trees, tunnels, mountains, clothing, and the human body can prevent GPS signals from the satellites reaching the receiver.It is better to just put a GPS receiver in a place where it has a clear and unobstructed view of a large portion of the sky. However, sometimes the obstructions are unavoidable, like in downtown areas where tall buildings block view of the sky, in dense trees or driving in the tunnel.

Multipath error

When signals from the GPS satellites bounce off buildings, the GPS receiver can be confused by the extra time the signal took to reach it. In these cases, you may observe sudden large errors in position. This is why when we walk around in city while using GPS in the phone to navigate, it sometimes shows sudden large errors in position.

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GPS: Helping or Hurting

What do you do when someone sends you the directions to an event or gathering? For me, I always look up the address and hope that my GPS is able to find where in the world that place is. Otherwise, I’m stuck at home. I will tell my friends that I couldn’t make it.

And I am not the only one who relies on GPS too much. There must be many people that ride out on their cars, blindly believing that nothing can ever go wrong with their trusty little piece of technology. Then bam! When you least expect it, you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere. This really happened to me for couple times, my GPS unit cut out on me due to poor satellite reception. And I were forced to either drive around asking strangers or staffs in coles for directions, or simply wait until my GPS starts working again.

The problem isn’t the technology itself. GPS is fine. GPS is pretty reliable is some ways. The problem is our over reliance on it. Nowadays, GPS has become increasingly more common as a standard feature in vehicles, so that more and more people become reliant on using GPS to help navigate.

Certainly, this over reliance can be really detrimental if we are trying to navigate around by ourselves. But in other, more absurd instances(like what I have posted before), it can even unintentionally misguide people and results in hurting people whether mentally or physically.

So, while GPS is often extremely useful, it is really important to understand that being over attached to the technology can result in some dire situation and potential consequences. And it’s time for us to practice our own sense of direction!!!!

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How does GPS mentally and physically hurt people in daily life?

With every additional technology that comes out and assists in exploring the physical world around us, we are losing our sense of direction and ability to navigate without them. It is obvious that people from generations previous might still retain some sense of the world, however, the generations like us who are growing up with this tech that are unable to fathom living without it. Here are some cases that really happened to people who got hurt by GPS because of relying on GPS too much. These cases will not only be showing how GPS hurt people in the mental way but also showing us that GPS can put our lives in risk in physical ways.

Speaking of how GPS mentally hurts people, here is an example about myself. Sometime I unconsciously put on GPS to go to some shops, even though know exactly where the shops are. Another instance that just happened couple days ago, I was in hurry to go to meet my friend, the GPS told me to take an exit that I knew would send me in the opposite direction of where I needed to go, and I eventually took it! At the end, an extra 15 minutes on top of my already long drive. After that day, I was thinking why I decided to follow my GPS technology instead of following my own sense of direction? Probably because I have been using GPS really often thereby causing I blindly trust it.

Furthermore, many people think that GPS systems are a godsend to the modern driver. But the data contained in them is not perfect and should not be relied on blindly. Otherwise, people can get not only mental hurt but also in physical. Here are some cases that show us how GPS brings people physical harm in daily life. the harm of GPS
there are more cases available on this website:http://whatstheharm.net/gpsnavigation.html
Overall, from my perspective, I think the technology itself isn’t horrible, but we tend to forget that we need to take everything in moderation. People like us should have a strong sense of direction, and not rely on the technology to get us from A to B. We also need to exercise our minds more, for example driving less via technology, and more via our natural sense of direction.

How our brain get hurt by GPS?

According to McGill University researchers, relying on GPS to navigate may have a negative effect on brain function, especially on the hippocampus, which is involved in memory and navigation processes. Simply put, hippocampus is something involved in memory and in navigation processes, which also can be seen as the ability to find new routes and identify short cuts. “It is one of the first areas of the brain to be affected by Alzheimer’s disease, which results in memory loss and difficulties in spatial orientation,” said by Lin Edwards(2010).

An earlier study by University of London researchers showed that in London taxi drivers, who spend three years learning their way by spatial methods rather than GPS. part of their hippocampus is larger than in a control group of non-taxi drivers. So, the case tells us that using spatial memory regularly may improve the function of the hippocampus and could help ward off cognitive impairment as we age.

It may be wise to restrict GPS use to an aid in finding the way to a new destination, but to turn it off the way back or when going somewhere that is not new. Neuroscientist Veronique Bohbot of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, said building cognitive maps takes time and effort, but with the hippocampus, it may be a case of “use it or lose it.”

Reference:

Edwards, L,.(2010) Study suggests reliance on GPS may reduce hippocampus function as we age. [Online] available at: http://phys.org/news/2010-11-reliance-gps-hippocampus-function-age.html

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