Be Careful Using Google Maps!

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Google Maps is part of the TPOL in NYC ongoing Trip Report.


I wrote about how I am older and wiser (see I Jaywalk No More). Now I’m going to sound even more out-dated when I state that technology is bad when it comes to navigation. In Scottsdale, I’ve had Google Maps tell me to make a u-turn when I’m on the 101. That is not a good idea. In Puerto Rico, Google Maps tells me to take exits that aren’t there. In my younger days, I used to print out my directions from Mapquest, study them momentarily, and then hit the road (usually to Vegas). That method is more efficient and much safer.

Not trusting navigation is not a novel concept. What is novel is Google’s new walking maps. Instead of going ten paces only to see the distance recalculate, users point their phone at landmarks and Google is able to visually understand where someone is. From there, the directions are more like looking through a lens of a camera.

I used this feature the last time I was in Brooklyn and was surprised at how well it worked. I also realized how dangerous it can be. Much like texting and driving may prove fatal, texting and walking is also dangerous. Using this app is a hybrid combo of the two. Focused on the destination, users may not look up (despite Google’s warning to do so). I can see people blindly walking into intersections on the advice of the navigation telling them to continue straight. Besides catastrophic results, I foresee people running into other people which has its own dangers.

If used correctly, the app is very useful and much easier than walking 500 feet in the wrong direction only to be told to turn around.

Have you used the app? Have you been hit by a bus?

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