Monday, August 26, 2013


Recently there was a segment on ABC’s 20/20 about the misadventures of three women in Death Valley.  It seems that they decided to go on an impromptu sightseeing trip through one of the worlds most desolate and dangerous places on earth.  I’ll refrain from all the details but suffice it to say they got lost.  According to 20/20 and these fearless explorers, the main reason they got in trouble was due to inaccurate direction from the dashboard mounted GPS.

If you are a regular reader of my musings you know that I have a love/hate relationship with my GPS but that, as they say, is another story.  Learning of the plight of these women prompts me to remind you that if you have a GPS you do need to update the software periodically.  Just like printed maps must be updated, the innards of your Garmin or TomTom need to be refreshed. 

The amount of data resident in even the simplest GPS device is huge and as such there are bound to be errors.  These often get reported by customers and get fixed and are included in the updated information.  Information about new roads, speed limit changes, location of new businesses and even abandoned roads changes constantly.

Most all manufactures of GPS devices offer updates.  Most are easy to install although some are a bit pricey.  For example Garmin, a leader in this industry, offers on its website updates for most all of its products.  For a one time fee of $90 you can get updates downloaded to your device for as long as you own it. For $50 you can purchase a single update.

Many of us have GPS apps on our smart phone.  In most cases the data for these services is automatically updated so you don’t need to be concerned about updating to the most current info used by Google Maps or Apple Maps navigation apps.

If you have a built in navigation systems in your car there are various ways to get it updated.  Some automakers will provide this service at the dealership while others provide updated software on a DVD that is inserted into the CD/DVD slot on the dashboard.  For updating information on your specific system, just look in the Operator’s Manual.  It’s that fat book that keeps falling out of the glove box when you are looking for those napkins you got at Burger City.

Updating your GPS should make your next road trip safer and more enjoyable.  Now if I can just get that lady in my GPS to lose that attitude when she tells me she is “recalculating.”

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