Have you had the opportunity to use a hardware-based GPS (Global Positioning System) device or a mobile device with a GPS application or app installed? Was your experience a positive one where you wound up reasonably near your destination, or did you find yourself floundering around–perhaps having to ask directions from passersby? I will admit that I now understand why one would choose to use or install more than one solution on their mobile device.
Imagine my leading a group of blind and visually impaired individuals around a square block in New York City, stopping at corners and random spots to have the Trekker Breeze hardware-based GPS announce information about our location. It turned out to be quite comical as the pleasant female voice returned with information that ranged from fairly accurate to everyone believing she’d imbibed a bit of the old cooking Sherry before answering. On another occasion, while driving to a friend, Ms. Trekker was quite chatty, cheerfully announcing street numbers, avenues, boulevards, and bridge names, but on the way home, she was positively sullen. I attributed this behavior to her placement in the back seat rather than up front where she had a better view. To be fair, New York is situated in what is known as an “urban canyon” where it is difficult to receive a signal at times. I am hopeful that the developers at Humanware have made improvements to its accuracy.
For those interested in another hardware-based GPS device, you can explore the Kapten GPS, available through Leader Dog. Perusal of the website reveals that it is still available. Visit www.leaderdog.org for more information.
We generally take a taxi to our annual Alumni weekend held in the Bronx and this year was no exception. Curious, I decided to track our journey using my favorite GPS iPhone app, Sendero’s LookAround. As I write this, I feel a frisson of excitement for Sendero’s upcoming announcement to be made on July 4, where they will provide news about their new full-featured GPS app. Surprisingly, I opened this usually-accurate app, but it could not get a fix on our position. Stunned into silence, I thought for a moment and remembered that I also have the Ariadne GPS app. This app has sat dormant on my iPhone for some time, as I was having difficulty exiting the map screen. Probably out of frustration, I shook my phone and, Voila, I was returned to the main screen. Turning on monitoring mode, I relaxed and let Ariadne announce the compass directions, bridge, and street names. When I heard the correct street address and actual name of our beloved school, I shrieked with glee! Aren’t you glad you weren’t in the taxi with us?
Do you use a GPS device or app? Which ones do you prefer, and which ones would you prefer to stay away from? Let us know in the Reader’s Forum.