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post #121 of 144 Old 02-03-2011
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If you do not think the mimitary messes with your signal,

FAA warns of ongoing GPS issues in southeastern US due to Defense Department 'tests' -- Engadget

What are our chart-plotter friends going to do?
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post #122 of 144 Old 02-03-2011
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These tests have been going on since GPS became available. While they can last up to 45 minutes, most of the time the test lasts less than 5 minutes, and very few people seem to have noticed. Aircraft using GPS have lots of backup systems, including transponders, which are linked to ground radar control systems. To my knowledge the tests are never conducted at night, and most occur in the middle of the day in the middle of the week, times when most boaters are too busy watching the horizon.

Rarely, even in war zones, is there a complete outage of GPS. Granted the accuracy isn't pin-point, but it ain't 20-miles off! Now, I don't know about most folks on this form, but I'm going to avoid war zones and other locations where I would put myself or others in harms way. If you want to sail the Somalia Coast using your sextant, knock yourself out. I'll stick to the sunny shores of the U.S. and countries where sailing is fun--not a life-threatening challenge of everyday life.

Good Luck,

Gary
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post #123 of 144 Old 02-03-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travler37 View Post
Take a sextant to a war zone and compare your shots to your gps and see....grins.
Only 20 miles off? You might not see a difference...

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post #124 of 144 Old 02-03-2011
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And another example of the increased reliance on technology being 100% accurate and not using the ol' common sense noggin...

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post #125 of 144 Old 02-03-2011
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And another example of the increased reliance on technology being 100% accurate and not using the ol' common sense noggin...

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You can't fix STUPID.

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post #126 of 144 Old 02-03-2011
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Lets see now--should we blame the GPS? Or, should we blame the idiot that was so stupid that she drove into Death Valley during the height of summer (120 degrees f) with a 6-year-old kid, and wasn't smart enough to carry food, water, etc.., which is posted on signs everywhere you drive in this area?

Blame the GPS, of course. Now you can bring a class action suit against the manufacturer, and sue them for millions. Whoops, better also sue the USGS for not updating the maps and telling everyone that road was closed. (She probably didn't read that sign either.) What the Hell was on her mind. Driving alone with a a 6-year-old kid, in the middle of the nation's largest,hottest desert just isn't real smart.

My long deceased father had some pretty neat sayings that I would like to pass along. "The average person is well below average." And, "Common sense isn't very damned common these days."

Ironically, the idiot that wrote that story had to search long and hard to come up with this one. There are probably 50-million people using GPS systems every day without encountering a problem. He managed to find one and tried to make a front-page story out of it. I guess he was looking for some sort of blood and guts sensationalism type of story that was really unique, instead of the regular, daily blood and guts stories like car wrecks, homicides, wars, rapes, floods, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, plane crashes, etc...

Cheers,

Gary
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post #127 of 144 Old 02-03-2011
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I say (and will myself) use a combination of GPS and traditional navigation techniques (celestial) once we get underway next fall.

I think as long as you have the know how to back up your high tech with "low" tech in a pinch, and verify both against each other, you're all good.

I really look forward to using celestial navigation though
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post #128 of 144 Old 02-03-2011
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The case that the "idiot author" of that article is trying to make is that unskilled people who encounter technology tend to believe it makes them more skilled than they really are (i.e. more than native skill + skill through technology). This happens because the technology gives them access to activities they once thought (correctly) were out of their reach.

In any case I don't see the "idiot author" anywhere actually blaming the GPS, or making any sort of annoying calls for legislative action to protect us from technology or ourselves, though I only glanced through the article. It seems like more of a "I see this disturbing trend in my society, just thought I'd letcha all know," article.

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post #129 of 144 Old 02-03-2011
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First and foremost, look at the article's title "Death By GPS in Desert," thus leading the reader to immediately assume the GPS was the cause of death--not stupidity. Next, some of the sub-titles add to the headline "Not All GPS Units Reliable," a statement that is not really as accurate as the GPS units themselves. Most GPS units are extremely reliable, but like computers, they only do what you tell them to do.

GPS units are no more complex than a cellular telephone that has all the bells and whistles. The problem is that most people don't take the time to read the instruction manuals that come with them. Of course, some people cannot read at all, or they're just too damned lazy to read the manual, then wonder why something doesn't work the way they want it to work. Hmmmmm! Kinda like trying to use a sextant without first reading the book and learning how to use it. Imagine that!

Gary
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post #130 of 144 Old 02-03-2011
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Doesn't matter if you know how to use the GPS and if you know its limitations. If you have lived a life where you put your trust in technology without thinking twice, then you'll drive off into the desert, trusting your GPS to make it a safe thing for you to do. In fact I would bet that even if the manual said "CAUTION: DO NOT DRIVE OFF INTO THE DESERT RELYING SOLELY ON YOUR GPS UNLESS YOU HAVE WILDERNESS SURVIVAL EXPERIENCE", and even if the woman had read the instructions carefully, she still would have made the decisions she did.

It's the black-box nature of GPS and all sorts of technology. If I can press a button and get a result, then I am unstoppable. I don't see the type of person who puts all their faith in a magical black box to be the type to rely on a sextant for navigation, so statistically it will come up less often. A sextant makes a terrible black box since you must be intimately familiar with its workings in order to use it. A person who is not accustomed to dependence on black-box type devices is more likely to carefully plan their activities, consider contingencies, etc.

So while "Death By GPS" may be a bit sensationalist, the author is really getting at a behavioral trend in humans that is permitted by black box technology. Is it a reason for hardened cruisers to avoid GPS? Probably not. Is it a reason for society in general to think twice about grabbing every gadget they can? I would probably have to agree.

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