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back to article Satnav mishap misery cure promised at confab

Ever get that sinking feeling after your satnav misdirects your car into a ditch? Relax, the government is wading in to help stressed-out drivers get more accurate information from the road-mapping devices. A summit will kick off in March ahead of local authorities being given more powers to have a bigger say about how their …

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Anonymous Coward

Jade Goody at her hearing

Clerk "And why did you turn left into Oxford street ignoring the signs banning left turns during daylight hours and several warning signs"?

Jade "because my satnav told me to turn left"

I must wholeheartedly agree with The Bit Wrangler and Giles Jones

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Slow updates

Slow updates is right. As of their 3Q 2011 update, Teleatlas, or whoever supplies Navigon/Garmin, are still ignorant of the existance of the A421 near Bedford/Cambridge. This is a major dual carriageway opened in autumn 2009. Googlemaps had it on the day of opening. Both my satnavs think it is a field.

I get free updates every quarter. In the last 3 quarters none of the mistakes I know of have been corrected.

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Facepalm

I suspect it's Garmin who is at fault.

TeleAtlas is owned by TomTom, and TomTom for the last 14 months has had the A421 on the map at being a dual-carriage, complete with the odd triple-roundabouty junction on the M1.

You can even check TeleAtlas at http://mapinsight.teleatlas.com/ to see what their current map looks like and submit corrections.

:-)

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Coffee/keyboard

I don't know about TeleAtlas

but I wouldn't bother submitting any changes to Navteq via their "map reporter". I submitted quite a few changes to them including a two way road that was categorised as a one way. A pedestrian only road (with no through route) that was marked as a normal road. An alleyway at the side of a house that was marked as a road and a road that was separated in the middle by a fence, and a largish gulley with a river running through it that was marked as a normal connected road (even though it's never been connected). Of the dozen or so changes I submitted nearly two years ago, they have completed only two changes which was to add an Iceland supermarket and remove a petrol station from the POI's. To this day the rest are still "In Process". Needless to say, I didn't bother wasting my time submitting any more.

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Navigon finally noticed the A421

The Q4 2012 Navigon updates, made available a few days ago, finally include the A421 project near bedford which was opened in autumn 2010, not 2009 as I stated above.

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FAIL

A3 Hindhead Tunnel

This has been open since last July and was in construction for several years beforehand, but neither Google Maps nor Bing Maps show it. How can they possibly not notice such a huge change to a major road? Do any satnavs show the new alignment?

Obligatory Wikipedia entry for those unfamiliar with the road:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindhead_Tunnel

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OSM's got it, though :-)

Wiggers - the Open Street map's got the Hindhead Tunnel though :-) Those of us using Android phones for satnav can also use NavFree, which uses the OSM (has the beauty of being an offline Satnav, too).

OSM Hindhead Tunnel mapping: http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=51.1145&lon=-0.7189&zoom=14&layers=M

NavFree on the Android marketplace: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.navfree.android.OSM.ALL#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDUwMSwiY29tLm5hdmZyZWUuYW5kcm9pZC5PU00uQUxMIl0.

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+1 for Navfree.......

You can even get it on the iPhone from the App store :-)

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Go

For those that have Garmin sat navs, there is a way of getting openstreetmap maps onto your device:-

http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/OSM_Map_On_Garmin

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Waze...

has it too I've just noticed. I stopped using it 'cos it kept crashing on me.

http://www.waze.com/

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Anonymous Coward

Teleatlas/TomTom also has it

Checked both TeleAtlas on MapInsight and TomTom's iPhone App. Hindhead Tunnel is in both.

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Holmes

there is nothing like .....

a fool who follows a fool....

Sat-navs no matter how good they are, no matter how much you pay for them should only ever be used as a driving aid to navigation, the road signs should always be taken note of and supersede what your satnav is telling you. Just because your satnav tells you to turn left at the next junction, if the road is one way and your facing the wrong way you dont go down it....

far to often these mishaps happen because the fools dont follow what the road signs are saying, but its the driver and not the satnav to blame.

I myself use a satnav quite often and its clear to me that they are not perfect, and proberbly never will be. What needs to be looked at is pricing of map updates, or if there should be a charge at all.

If there is a error in the map then surely this calls into question if the device is fit for purpose? therefore if the maps should be supplied free.... its a different matter if the road has had changes made to it.

maybe its time or a satnav system to go on the market that has a user editable map online? When the alterations are confirmed then it will go live on the maps for all users to download...

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take a look at waze, on android and iphone (and blackberry)

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"maybe its time or a satnav system to go on the market that has a user editable map online? When the alterations are confirmed then it will go live on the maps for all users to download...

"It's called Waze and it's free.

http://world.waze.com/

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Unhappy

You'd think that the answer to this would be an online 'cloud' based navigator - like Google Navigator. Unfortunately updates to this aren't very fast either. I've pointed out three defects in my local are and it took six months for the changes to appear on my 'droid.

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Its an intersting insight into human nature

That people seem much happeier to believe a paper map can be wrong than an electronic one.

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@Its an intersting insight into human nature

True. In years past we were content to go on holiday with a 5 year old paper atlas. We weren't bothered that it might not have newer roads.

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You knew that it wasn't up to date, but you weren't using it for every last metre of the journey (or foot).

You looked at the map before you set off, looked at the major roads you would need to use and which towns you would pass, then you would tuck it away behind the driver's seat and dig it out again, if you got lost.

I did a lot of motorcycle tours across Europe and all I ever took was a wad of post-it notes, with a list of the major towns I would pass and the major road numbers I needed to look out for. It was only once I got to the destination town or village, that i needed a detailed map, and generally asking for directions, once I got there was enough.

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Why does the Gov spend millions on OS maps which don't get used by Sat Nav firms, if they want a better say force them to purchase access to the OS maps and make those more available.

Surely it would make more sense to have a single standard map that they all work from and then allow the companies to overlay what ever additional features they want to display....

Bottom line still is though......

Stop using f**king Sat Nav - If you don't know where your going use a map then at least you know roughly where your going and have actually looked at the route rather than punching it into your little device and waiting for instructions because you still don't know where your f**king going!

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>Stop using f**king Sat Nav

..on the open road, perhaps. Trying to find an address for the first time in a town or city (especially if it's busy) is a nightmare on your own.

Personally I also like the idea of having a machine that at least always knows where I am. That way if I decide to strike across country to avoid a traffic jam it can always get me back to a main road and fairly reliably get me where I'm going.

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"Stop using f**king Sat Nav - If you don't know where your going use a map"

As much as I dislike people who blindly follow the advice of the hallowed device (and doubly dislike those who seem to think it's a HUD given the way they position it in the middle of their windscreen), I have almost as much disdain reserved for people who think that satnavs and maps are two completely seperate and incompatible means of navigation.

I grew up in a house full of maps, I spent almost as much time reading maps as I did reading books, and 30-odd years after picking up my first map I still get a tingle down my spine when I look at a finely drawn example of the cartographers art. And yes, every time I embark on a new journey, I plan the whole thing on the map first. But I also then take the satnav with me... As good as my memory is for maps and directions, it isn't photographic, so if anything should occur en-route that requires me to divert from the planned route then instead of having to pull over to refresh my memory of the roads in that area I can let the satnav handle the task of getting me back on track.

So yes, whilst I do believe people (especially those people responsible for getting motor vehicles from A to B) should have at least a basic grounding in the art of map reading, I absolutely don't subscribe to the notion that being able to read a map means that satnavs are redundant.

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@AndrueC

Finding an address in a town or city isn't that much of a problem. Look at the map before you go, heck with Google Maps and Streetview, it is even easier, you can get a good idea of what buildings you need to look out for.

I did hundreds of thousands of miles before the satnav came out, across the UK and Europe. I rarely even took a map with me, I'd take a look before setting out and that was it.

I've had a car with a satnav built in, and I hardly ever used it and the times I did use it, were the times that I'd generally be late. In fact, it got to the point, where I'd turn it on, but after 20 miles, I'd ignore it and take a more optimal route!

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@ChrisC

I gave you a thumbs up, even though I don't own a SatNav.

I do the same as you, for the planning stage. For the actual journey, I just have a couple of Post-It notes with major towns and maybe detailed directions for finding the street at the destination - or I ask for directions, once I get there, if I can't find it.

The post-it note method got me from Southampton to Scillian in Tirol, Austria and back, without getting lost - the whole trip fit on 3 post-it notes!

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>Finding an address in a town or city isn't that much of a problem. Look at the map before you go, heck with Google Maps and Streetview, it is even easier, you can get a good idea of what buildings you need to look out for.

What a lot of faffing around. I just type the postcode into my phone and tell it to take me there. I can agree with you on the open road because I can usually plot a better route but I don't understand your hatred of them in a built-up area. With a satnav I can concentrate on driving and vehicles/pedestrians while just keeping an ear out of directions. What do you find so objectionable about that? It's surely better to just be listening for directions instead of adding yet another visual burden to your brain.

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Happy

Agreed

In general, I know vaguely where I am, and where roughly I am heading. The last mile though can be the killer. Getting back home on autopilot is great.

And it's fun to wind the satnav up when you know there's a better route than the one it wants you to take...

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Devil

At least the satnav

won't blow away when you open the window.

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>And it's fun to wind the satnav up when you know there's a better route than the one it wants you to take..

Oh yes. I go from Brackley to North Wales several times a year and it's always amusing when the Satnav tries to send me up the M6 and across via Liverpool. Watching the estimated completion time climb to six hours before it suddenly twigs round about Shrewsbury and knocks it down to an hour remaining. I can imagine the CPU inside suddenly going a bit red-faced :)

But credit it where it's due it knows about the shortcut in Llandudno - turning off the dual carriageway after a hundred yards. It even knows there's no equivalent coming back and routes me out through Deganwy. Maybe someone told Google what a PITA The Links roundabout can be :)

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@AndrueC and what sort of bloody useless satnav do you have? Most Satnavs calculate the journey at the start and only recalculate when you go off route. I can't think of a single satnav that works the way you are claiming yours does.

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@SJRulez

"you still don't know where your f**king going!"

You clearly don't ride a motorcycle.

One of the best things about biking is getting off the beaten track and exploring some of the B and C roads, avoiding motorways and built-up areas, and finding there's actually still some beautiful countryside out there.

And if those roads happen to be nice and twisty too, so much the better!

Once finished having fun, just tell the Sat Nav "take me home" and you're sorted.

It's about the ride, not the destination.

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Mushroom

@Greasemonkey:Do you have a reading impediment?

My entire post is an example showing what happens when you go 'off-route'.

I'll restate it just for you:

When I travel from Brackley to Llandudno my satnav plots a route that goes via Manchester and Liverpool (roughly speaking). I prefer to go M54/A5 (note to reader - this is known as going 'off route'). And yes, it recalculates as it goes along but it's not until Shrewsbury that it finally gives up trying to send me via Manchester and Liverpool. At that point it suddenly knocks several hours off the estimate.

Is that clear enough for you yet?

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Boffin

@AndrueC

Does your Sat Nav not have the ability to set Waypoints so that you can *tell* it you want to go an alternative route??

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Drivers not using Map updates.

-"Meanwhile, many drivers apparently fail to update their satnavs to gain access to the latest road-mapping data."

Given how they often they used to charge for map updates on tom toms and the like its no wonder that this is the case.

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On the plus side...

If you're not a sat-nav user and prefer to use the tried-and-trusted "knowing where you're going" method, it' s great when a new road opens and nobody but you knows about it. The dual carriageway that takes a significant chunk out of my daily commute was deserted for its first year after opening due to not appearing on sat nav.

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Paris Hilton

Subtle change

I should start out saying I agree with all the comments above, namely people who get into danger with a satnav are just bad drivers, full stop.

I can understand the slight difference though, in that humans are generally inclined to "trust" a "human" who has earned it. In this case, the satnav is (to all intents) a human voice and has earned trust through hours of being correct, the natural human instinct is to trust the satnav's voice.

Although having said all that, even if someone was navigating with a map next to me and told me to turn left, I'd still notice if it was a no entry sign for example and explain I can't do that. I'd also be able to figure out if a road I was about to enter was too narrow for the vehicle I was driving, recognise a grass field followed by a cliff and notice a user-operated level crossing when I saw one.

I also don't see how updating map-makers data will get to my mother's satnav without me intervening, taking it out the car, plugging it into a PC, updating the maps, hopefully not buggering it up... Satnavs live in the car, and without OTA updates will seldom be updated.

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Boffin

"the satnav is (to all intents) a human voice and has earned trust through hours of being correct"

Not mine. she is called "The bitch" due to hours of being entirely stupid.

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Same here.

"Make a U tuuuuuurn"

"Make a U tuuuuuurn"

I often use it on long distance routes even if I'm familiar with them just for something to curse and laugh at. I rarely rely on it but when you're on your own it's nice to have some navigational support.

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@Annihilator

" ... people who get into danger with a satnav are just bad drivers, ". Yes, true. However, they haven't just appeared from nowhere. There were a lot of people that got into danger without satnavs - they just didn't get reported. There were people who got lost, went the wrong way on on-way streets, did ridiculous manoeuvres to correct a mistake, shot across traffic lanes because they just saw the road they wanted, drove with their heads in maps/reams of paper, stopped in bad places to try and read road-signs/ask for directions, drove up dead-ends, onto beaches, into rivers ... there is literally *nothing* new about the things that people blame on satnav. Personally, I think the situation is better - people get warnings about up-coming junctions, often with a nice little diagram of it, and which way to go. On a personal level, I don't need to worry about whether I'm going to get a phonecall from my wife asking where she is (?) and how to get to her destination quite as often.

People blindly following satnavs can be a small problem - people having no clue where they are and getting anxious about it are far worse.

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Holmes

Let your satnav do the walking...

The most likely explanation for vehicles ending up on undriveable paths and having to be airlifted out of there by helicopter is not mapping errors but due to the nut behind the wheel.

Most satnavs offer a choice of fastest route, shortest route and WALKING route. Guess which choice results in vehicles trapped on goat tracks...

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Boffin

However

surely, it would be trivial to include a bit of code which checks the motion of the Sat Nav corresponds with a walking pace, and either warns the user, or simply changes mode to "Car" ?

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JimmyPage:However

Garmins do - which is good for a laugh when you're stuck in traffic and it asks you "Are you walking?"

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Coffee/keyboard

ROTFLMAO !

I was going to point out that a reverse feature - using continued low speeds as a sign the user is *not* in a car - might cause problems in the UK in rush hour. But then I thought "nobody would be THAT stupid".

I own a Garmin too !

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Anonymous Coward

Out of date?

Since when have ancient roads suddenly become updated?

We often get lorries using the thousand + year old lanes by us and getting completely stumped by the sharp right angle. Always worth a giggle watching them spend 30 mins plus getting around the bend. All to save about 2 mins.

Still I guess the "unsuitable for HGV" "Max 7.5 tonnes" and "narrow road" markings have only been up a few decades.

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FAIL

Sorry epic fail

the great and good can pontificate all they like, but since the only way anything will change is when the old data gets replaced by the new, nothing is going to happen anytime soon.

Just as I never bought a new road atlas every year, I don't buy map updates every year (especially when they cost as much as Garmin charge). And neither, do I suspect, do 80% of sat-navvers out there.

During the week, I would say that at least 20 cars drive down my cul-de-sac and have to turn round, and leave, because the postcode centroid for the university the other side of the garden happens to be outside my house. I even had someone ring my bell once, asking where the University was, and calling me a liar when I said it was "over there", insisting their sat nav must be right.

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WTF?

update charges

I got a Garmin satnav a few years back for £99 - it came with a free map update which I used. About a year later I wanted to update the map again and found I could subscribe for around £90 for 'lifetime' updates for this device. Suffice to say I did not update it as I could simply get a new one around the same money at a well known car spares chain if they happen to be doing a sale/promotion.

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FAIL

Map update rip-off

Having up-to-date maps available won't mean everyone uses them.

I asked our Honda dealer for an update DVD for the 2 year old built-in Navman GPS in my CRV but they wanted £349 for it. I did point out to them I could buy a completely new GPS system for less than that but they just did the "dealer shrugg" and I walked out empty handed.

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Anonymous Coward

Other sources

It's rip off's like this that "might" force someone to consider using alternative sources for their maps - cough, Usenet, cough

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I wonder if it's time for Stanley Milgram to repeat his tests, but with a Sat Nav instead ?

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Cost of updates isn't the only problem

It's also not knowing whether the update fixes enough problems to be worth spending your money on (or if they're free updates, if it's worth spending the time to perform the update).

With paper maps it's a trivial exercise to pick up the latest issue and quickly compare it against the one you've already got, before either putting it back on the shelf or taking it to the till. Maybe the satnav manufacturers should start providing an online service where you'd tell it which version of the map you've currently got and which device you're using it on, and it'd then highlight every change relevant to that device between your currently installed map and the latest release, allowing you to browse the map onscreen just as if you had it loaded onto your actual device.

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The Teleatlas site (http://mapinsight.teleatlas.com) SP mentioned in an earlier post is one I wasn't aware of when I posted my comment above, so it's good to see a small step being taken in the right direction. I even managed to find a couple of errors to report, one of which is at least 5 years old...

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Go

Help out with crowdsourced SatNav - Waze

See if you can grab a copy of Waze for your phone from your app store or marketplace - it's a free, crowd-sourced Satnav app with user-generated/updated mapping and real-time traffic info. It's not perfect but it's getting better all the time. I'm helping to map parts of West Sussex.

The more people start using the app the more accurate the maps will get as Waze also auto-corrects and adjusts the mapping database based on the routes being driven with the app running.

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