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Old 25th May 2015, 14:44   #16
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Default Re: India: GPS vs asking locals for directions

I follow a simple formula.

1. Decide the route to follow by asking people and by looking at Google Maps. By zooming into google maps it is sometimes possible to make a rough guess about the quality of road. Sometimes the pictures of vehicles on the satellite pictures also gives a good clue on the road worthiness of the route.

2. Having finalized the route I then use the GPS device to guide me via the chosen route. This may involve adding a few way points on the GPS.

3. As far as possible I try to avoid blindly follow the GPS unless the directions makes sense and in line with my mental picture of the direction to be followed. On one occasion I was lead down the wrong turn by GPS but I managed to recover in time just by noticing that I was going North (from the GPS compass arrow) whereas my mental picture required me to go south.

4. GPS device are generally not reliable in areas which have tree cover i.e forested areas. Usually I pick up a way point from the satellite map on the route where the road is clearly visible and use that as a via point. My experience is that road portions which are visible to the satellite are usually accurately covered in GPS maps.
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Old 25th May 2015, 15:05   #17
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Default Re: India: GPS vs asking locals for directions

On a bright sunny day in a crowded street, you have the option of relying on GPS or depending on the folks on the road.

When it is night time or when you are in sparsely populated area, you might not find anyone in the spot where you actually need to decide which route to take. You might find someone later on, and you'll either confirm you are on the correct route or you'll know you need to retrace your path.

Again, when you are on the road during heavy rains, GPS routing is a big help. Otherwise, you'll be forced to roll down the window or even get out of the car to ask for directions.

I use maps application on my phone to understand the general direction I need to take and to ensure I'm on track. If I find a road or turn marked in the map to be unacceptable to my standards, I'll take the next road that merges with the suggested path. Maps would help here in differentiating between the dead ends and the alternate routes. This check can be made by pulling over at a convenient place and not necessarily in the middle of a junction like most folks who ask for directions do.
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Old 25th May 2015, 15:56   #18
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Default Re: India: GPS vs asking locals for directions

If it is a preplanned trip to a destination I am not familiar with, the first thing I do is come to team bhp and post the query here. The inputs given by some of the members here are top notch and beats both GPS and asking locals . I can recall 2 first time journerys (Bangalore-Kanakpura-Kollegal-Chamrajnagar-Gundlepet and Bangalore-Tamabaram (Chennai)) where I took the print out of the posts here from the expert members, and relied on that to navigate my way to the destination. The GPS was on, but more as a reference. Never had to ask anybody

If it is unplanned or something very specific, before starting off, I look at the route online and try to get an idea of the route as much as possible. Even then, if it tries to route through a road I am not comfortable going into, I skip it.
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Old 27th May 2015, 10:42   #19
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Default Re: India: GPS vs asking locals for directions

I agree that a combination of both GPS and local help should be a sufficient to guide one to his/her destination. Life has become even simpler now with options like Offline maps where the dependency on an internet network is reduced.
One point I would like to raise is how about using Video directions? I remember seeing a vehicle with a big camera attached over it and running around streets near my house. I saw the term 'vidteq' written on it. Did a quick Google search and saw that the website offers Video directions with a good level of detail in it. Like GTO pointed out, maps lead him to a place where his civic wouldn't fit in, I believe using something like a video guided maps can help gauge the road’s capability before hand and then going ahead in that direction.
Below is the link for the same:
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Old 11th June 2015, 10:37   #20
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Default Re: India: GPS vs asking locals for directions

I am not sure on the dependence of GPS in India. It has proven itself on most occasions but it has also led me into trouble. There are times, when I just followed the GPS and landed up on a road that was either a non-usable or a road which is not worthy of driving. I have a blended approach whenever i have a journey to take up. GPS plays a big role(80%) but the 20% of other role is my research about the road. I ensure, i know the major towns/villages that i will have to take and also do my check on the road condition.
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Old 23rd June 2015, 13:45   #21
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I think people tend to forget that the GPS basically is there to tell you where you are. And it is accurate as much as within 6Mtrs. It is called positioning system. Where the equipment tends to go wrong is when it tells you how to go to a place because it is basing its directions on what information it has been programmed with. In USA it is totally accurate as the database is not secret, it is updated and the roads are not realigned or closed due repairs very often. In India due to outdated secrecy laws the map data provided to the programme maker is often distorted and not complete. Also the programme has no way of knowing if the road is blocked by digging, squatters, double parked vehicles, parked anywhere two wheelers, handcarts, the list is endless.
The best method would be to use the info for planning and then on road ask!
I have been using GPS from 1996 for various purposes and have learned to treat the suggestions by the machine with caution. The actual position is correct.
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Old 25th June 2015, 10:08   #22
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Default Re: India: GPS vs asking locals for directions

Well to be honest, I have been at the receiving end of using the GPS on more than few occasions. Neither have I learned nor did the GPS (Google maps precisely) get better. I can narrate multiple scenarios where I was badly let down and caused some genuine panic like situations, to make it worse with family in the car. To narrate the most scariest,

This was in the 2012, where I and Dad had planned a trip to Yaganti in Kurnool from Alampur. We had made it nicely to the place and on the return, my monkey mind switched on the GPS. Well long story short, we had run into a road where even tractors wont venture and a tight one where there was no possibility of me taking a reverse and going back. My Indigo eCS had performed well and let me too take some credit to how patiently I maneuvered the vehicle. It had taken me 1hr 20 minutes to travel a distance of little over 6 kms. The worst part was I could see no one in the entire 6km stretch and with light fading fast on a wintery evening in a remote place as that was a little nerve wracking.

In conclusion, in most of the situations, I ended up on half constructed roads or no roads and it has flattered to deceive is all I can say.

When on a comparison to which is better, I think the best guys to give proper road directions are the rickshaw walas in the city and the truckers on the highways.
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Old 11th September 2015, 09:34   #23
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Default Re: India: GPS vs asking locals for directions

Over dependence on any one mode will lead to goof-ups sometimes.

If you are asking for directions from somebody on the street how do you know he knows the directions to the place? Also any directions given will be influenced by personal preferences.

Once while travelling from Bangalore to Kabini asked directions from a local in Mysore. And he directed us onto the road leading to Nanjangud instead of Kabini. Oh, We had a jolly ride across the country-side and finally Google maps came to our rescue.

On the other hand, relying only on GPS directions can lead to "banging head on wall" moments. I personally have had 3 such instances.

Once, when I was driving in Bangalore to get to a friends place Google maps led me on a road that ended in an area of about an acre that was dug up 20 feet deep and Google kept insisting that I keep driving straight.

Second instance was when I was traveling in Uber cabs in Chennai. I knew the hotel was located on a main road but the cabbies GPS kept directing him through narrow lanes. Oh we reached the hotel alright, except that we reached behind the hotel which was blocked by a wall 15 feet high.

The third time was when I had gone to Ooty and trying to reach Kings Cliff hotel. Google maps directed us to turn left on to a narrow and steep road. My guts kept on screaming that this is not the correct road. And sure enough it ended in a dead-end with barely enough room to turn the car and that too on a steep incline.

So, what does one rely upon??
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