The Global Positioning System or the GPS as we commonly know it is an organized structure of about 30 satellites that orbit the Earth. It is through these satellites that our specific location can be accurately spotted.
When we input where we want to go from one specific location to another the GPS gathers the data and tries taking us through the shortest possible route.
Sometimes the route can be entirely illogical. On a recent trip this is exactly what happened to us on a snowy evening. The GPS took the directions and led us straight into the woods and forests and right onto a dirt track that was not worthy of driving on. Once there, it was difficult turning back due to the heavy sleet and bad visibility and we kept on going. A trip that should have taken us about 25 minutes ended up being a one and a half hour long harrowing journey involving several skids. To our relief we finally did reach where we wanted to. Admittedly, when we looked at the map the next morning the GPS had taken us through the shortest possible route.
Death by GPS is a term coined by the Californians on account of the so many people who have lost their way, some to their peril and a couple even to their actual death.
We have read the chilling report of the couple that lost their way due to GPS and ended up in the desert of Nevada where their bodies were discovered after many days or even the amusing story of the Japanese couple in Australia who ended up in the sea just following the GPS.
A British study that was published in 2006 showed a possible reduction in the grey matter in the brains of retired taxi drivers who no longer needed to recall the thousands of the London streets and landmarks. Only time will tell what effect these devices of convenience, including GPS, are having on our brains.
All is surely not dark. There undoubtedly is the day to day convenience of being transported with the easy comfort of just following the navigation instructions using this magical device that came to being thanks to Dr. Getting the founder president of The Aerospace Corporation who has been credited for the “concept and development of the GPS” for not only tracking missiles but also our humble vehicles.
Not just that Google also leads us through the least congested roads by collecting data from the many mobile phones of those driving ahead of us. The amount of data they must collect on a second to second basis from the billions of mobile phones is incredible and mind boggling.