GPS use grows, but some areas remain uncharted

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Stephanie Lipecky has lived in her 3-year-old house in Evans for two years, but according to online maps and Global Positioning System units, her street doesn't exist.

Roads that have been around for years, such as Broad Street in downtown Augusta, are easily mapped by GPS devices. But mapping services sometimes don't recognize new streets. 
  John Curry/Staff
John Curry/Staff
Roads that have been around for years, such as Broad Street in downtown Augusta, are easily mapped by GPS devices. But mapping services sometimes don't recognize new streets.

"Pizza delivery people can't find us, we are not on the GPS system (map) anywhere," she said.

Lipecky's Riverwood Plantation home is in a high-tech map black hole. It's an odd place to be in a time when GPS navigation is growing so fast.

Google Maps and Mapquest offer free and easy directions with a few keystrokes. Navigation systems had reached 56.4 percent of U.S. households in 2009, according to the Telematics Research Group of iSuppli Corp.

In-dashboard navigation comes standard on 8.1 percent of cars. And 34.9 percent of drivers use in-car navigation systems, because they're affordable and portable, said Danny Kim, an analyst and the global manager for portable devices and location-based services at Telematics Research Group, part of iSuppli.

The fastest-growing navigation system is through smart phones. Kim said a few industry moves led to this: Google, in November, announced it would offer free navigation applications to android phones. At a time when competitors with iPhone applications were charging at least $50 for navigation services, it was a game changer.

Nokia announced in January that navigation applications would be free or preloaded, which has global implications because of Nokia's reach, Kim said.

Mapping services are becoming more of a standard for cell phones, almost as common as cameras.

But technology can be fallible, and mapping can be incomplete. Some readers of The Chronicle and Twitter users have noted difficulties with new traffic patterns being recognized by GPS navigation units in areas such as Bobby Jones Expressway at Interstate 20.

Others, such as Lipecky, note other blacked-out areas around Evans and Hephzibah. For example, many streets in Hephzibah off Willis Foreman Road cannot be located on Google Maps.

Elaine Filadelfo, the spokeswoman for Google Inc., wrote in an e-mail that the company relies on service users to report such problems so it can update its data.

"Google Maps are updated on a continual, ongoing basis," she wrote. "We allow our users to report any errors or updates directly to Google, via the 'Report a Problem' button in the lower right corner of the map, and constantly make updates based on that feedback. We strive to address user submissions within a month."

Google Maps used Tele Atlas, which provides geospatial data for TomTom devices, up until last year when Google decided to do it on its own.

GPS units often require users to update maps. TomTom, one GPS navigation unit brand, updates its maps four times per year, but it'll cost you extra.

Lipecky said her address shows up on Columbia County records but not other map data. Navigation systems and online maps don't use those records.

The in-car navigation systems maps data are provided by two main geospatial data companies, Kim said. Tele Atlas provides data for TomTom navigation systems. NAVTEQ provides data for Garmin.

Though sometimes not having her home show up on high-tech maps such as Google Maps makes Lipecky feel as if it "doesn't exist," new technology is still a benefit, she said.

"You tend to take something for granted," she said. "Think about 10 years ago. You had to buy a map at a store."

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deekster
24
Points
deekster 03/10/10 - 08:04 am
0
0
Stephanie, being lost in

Stephanie, being lost in Evans might be a blessing?

SheilaJ15
675
Points
SheilaJ15 03/10/10 - 08:57 am
0
0
Our car has a built in

Our car has a built in navigation system which we have to pay over a $100 every 3-4 years to update. Even with the newest updated software for our system it still does not show our road . My husband has owned his property for over 25 years and our road has been there a lot longer than that-yet it still does not show up on our navigation system. We live in Lincolnton. I guess navigation systems don't show small towns very well-and some times not at all. The pros are great for using navigation systems, especially on long trips that you have to make that are unfamiliar, but there is also a con to these systems. They don't always show you the shortest way to get somewhere. A lot of times our navigation system takes us around our hand just to get to our thumb! So before going on a long trip I always download a map from Map Quest and use a combination of a Map Quest map along with our GPS in order to get somewhere fast!

themaninthemirror
0
Points
themaninthemirror 03/10/10 - 09:15 am
0
0
We recently spent the weekend

We recently spent the weekend in Lake City, Florida attending a seminar for an organization that my wife is a member of. GPS took us to Lake City, although it is a straight shot down I-75. After arriving in Lake City and securing the address of a place my wife wanted to visit,GPS could not take us there. The closest address GPS could come up with was in Orlando. While GPS may be the best thing since sliced bread, it is still a few slices short of a full loaf.

Whim
4
Points
Whim 03/10/10 - 09:17 am
0
0
SheliaJ15, "They don't always

SheliaJ15, "They don't always show you the shortest way to get somewhere. A lot of times our navigation system takes us around our hand just to get to our thumb!"
AMEN!! Also, its not very good finding a retail store, especially when you are in another city. Once while in Atlanta, we were trying to find a Target or Walmart. My brand new GPS directed me to two vacant Target buildings. This was after I had updated it when I took it out of the box.

Riverman1
121178
Points
Riverman1 03/10/10 - 09:59 am
0
0
I wish I could get my house

I wish I could get my house and property taken off the GPS maps. You know, kind of like a do-not-call register. Sometimes technology just overwhelms me and makes me feel vulnerable. Ya know?

I had a cousin visit a few weeks back who had never been to my house. He Googled my house, photo and all. He told me about my dock, etc. when he got here. That bothered me to know he knew all that without me having to show him around. Is it 1984 yet?

dstewartsr
20394
Points
dstewartsr 03/10/10 - 10:08 am
0
0
GPS units are still in their

GPS units are still in their infancy, and are having their market undercut by the built-in units in automobiles and cell phone appliances. I have a year old Garmin which, despite a $79.00 2010 update, still cannot find places which date back to the Civil War. One recent trip to North Carolina, I looked down at the unit to see how far the next cross road was; there was none- and I was, according to the unit, in the middle of a vast empty field with no road on the screen at all!

Ayetidiosi
2
Points
Ayetidiosi 03/10/10 - 10:12 am
0
0
Riverman: I used to do

Riverman: I used to do Satellite Dish site surveys by Google Earth. Customers were always amazed that I could describe their houses, yards, etc and qualify the line of sight required.

If your little GPS device isn't good enough, they DO still sell those maps you know?

20 years as a travelling salesman from 1983 to 2003 and we didn't have GPS. Learning to use a map is a step in the right direction.

Sargebaby
4694
Points
Sargebaby 03/10/10 - 10:25 am
0
0
Riverman, not even Tiger

Riverman, not even Tiger Woods can get his place removed from the public eye. It takes very little effort to locate anyone since the advent of GIS property records. All one needs to know is a last name, and how to locate public tax records. I found Tigers place in about five minutes. Photos and tax records included.

Boo-Hoo
323
Points
Boo-Hoo 03/10/10 - 10:29 am
0
0
Riverman1, Its a few years

Riverman1,
Its a few years past 1984, try this link, depending on where you are on the river, you can see people on their decks. You can spend hours “flying” around the world. http://www.bing.com/maps/

Ayetidiosi
2
Points
Ayetidiosi 03/10/10 - 10:58 am
0
0
It takes very little effort

It takes very little effort to locate anyone since the advent of GIS property records. All one needs to know is a last name, and how to locate public tax records.
______________________

Sarge: Some folks learn that lesson the hard way after posting vitals on FB, MS, or other social networks, or maybe being a bit stupid and allowing media to link the "online persona" with their real names.

I find it a strange paradox: fear of identity theft combined with addiction to social networking.

Riverman1
121178
Points
Riverman1 03/10/10 - 11:03 am
0
0
If you guys can see me so

If you guys can see me so well, what am I wearing? Does anyone else feel like all this invades your privacy or something? I need to be like Rothliesberger's girl and go to the hospital for DNA testing. I feel violated.

miles_kilpatrick
0
Points
miles_kilpatrick 03/10/10 - 11:23 am
0
0
My tom-tom doesn't navigate

My tom-tom doesn't navigate South Augusta well at all.

Riverman1
121178
Points
Riverman1 03/10/10 - 11:47 am
0
0
Miles, I wonder if it's

Miles, I wonder if it's trying to tell you something?

billoftt
0
Points
billoftt 03/11/10 - 09:20 am
0
0
Okay, this article prety much

Okay, this article prety much forced me to make my very first posting.

I own a GPS, and I use it as a tool to get me to where I am going. A GPS is only that, a tool, much like a screwdriver. A person still has to turn the screwdriver to turn the screw, such as with the GPS, you still have to reference a map when planning a big trip and still have to be aware of your position and surroundings. GPS is also used for Air and Sea based navigation, and the companies that make the software put a higher priority on those industries, being that mistakes in accuracy are more catostophic in nature if a tanker ship runs aground or a passenger airliner crashes into the ocean. In data gaps in an automobile's GPS occur, we just have to ask for directions. I would hope that everyone reading this is able to navigate the street they live on without GPS assitance.

For what it is worth with TOM TOM products and software vs. Garmin products and software, Garmin makes products for aviation, TOM TOM does not. Those of you who have professional experience in aviation understand the significance of that.

billoftt
0
Points
billoftt 03/11/10 - 09:22 am
0
0
"Pizza delivery people can't

"Pizza delivery people can't find us, we are not on the GPS system (map) anywhere," she said.

What did these guys do before GPS?

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