GPS Helps Navigate More Than the Road

As part of my becoming chief editor of CSE, my wife, Amanda, and I agreed to relocate from Portland, Ore., to the Chicago area. Selling a house, finding a new place and preparing for an interstate move had our plate so full we couldn't spend a lot of time planning the long and logistically complex drive (pet-friendly hotels are few and far between these days).

04/01/2007


As part of my becoming chief editor of CSE , my wife, Amanda, and I agreed to relocate from Portland, Ore., to the Chicago area. Selling a house, finding a new place and preparing for an interstate move had our plate so full we couldn't spend a lot of time planning the long and logistically complex drive (pet-friendly hotels are few and far between these days). So, I bought a GPS. And, being a techno geek, I spent as much time researching GPS devices as we spent on planning the trip (shhhh). In the end, considering price vs. features, I bought a good one, justifying that it would help us navigate the intense traffic of Chicago.

I was able to learn the most important features quickly enough, and before we left, I punched in all of the addresses where we would be staying. As a backup, I also searched MapQuest for the driving directions and printed them out for Amanda. And as an extra backup, we threw the road atlas into her car for good measure. Three generations of technology should get us there without too many hassles…

Minutes after the moving truck left, so did we. Everything worked perfectly until we departed early one morning from our hotel in Layton, Utah. The highway was only a short drive, but the GPS directed us to city streets—in the opposite direction. I browsed the GPS unit to ensure that we were on the right track, and didn't worry too much. In my research I had read that it's not uncommon to get directions that you won't expect, which are not only right but time-savers, too. Amanda, however, hadn't done that research.

My cell phone rang. I explained to her that it was fine. She hung up. A few minutes later, she called again and was adamant about stopping to look at a map. We were only a few miles from the highway then, and I had to break hard to pull into the only visible place left to stop before getting to the highway.

A discussion ensued, and I realized that we were in one of those situations where so many people find themselves today when it comes to technology, and that includes discussions about building automation systems and controls, Internet-based project management, electronic-document-management systems and telecommunications technologies.

On the one hand, we have people who are adept at using digital technologies and capable of learning quickly. And on the other hand, we have those who, no matter how intelligent and experienced, are decidedly not adept at digital technologies, being forced to trust or at least follow the people who are. Even the perception of failure is different: with even one instance of a failure, some are willing to unplug from the whole thing forever, while others accept it as a temporary setback and keep moving ahead.

We worked through the situation, and I gained a fresh appreciation of the chasms that exist not only between technologies but between the people who use them. In answer to the question, “Can't we all get along?” the answer is yes.

Send your questions and comments to: Michael.Ivanovich@reedbusiness.com





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Integrated mobility; Artificial intelligence; Predictive motion control; Sensors and control system inputs; Asset Management; Cybersecurity
Big Data and IIoT value; Monitoring Big Data; Robotics safety standards and programming; Learning about PID
Motor specification guidelines; Understanding multivariable control; Improving a safety instrumented system; 2017 Engineers' Choice Award Winners
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.

(copy 5)

click me