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Navigation without GPS

  1. Mar 16, 2012 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    The roads in some parts of Seattle may have one, two, or three names. SW 130th may also be 141st ave and is not to be confused with NW 130th or NE 141st. Of course it may also be called by a name like "Main Street" on the map, with the numbered names missing altogether. But the name on the map is not likely to match the road signs. And I think the road department throws dice to determine which name will appear on any given street sign, if there is a sign at all! If you want an exit, watch closely because it may or may not have any warning or even an overhead exit sign - just a small sign along the roadside. If you miss the exit, good luck finding another one and getting back to the freeway. Also, you had better know the names of all the local towns because novelties like having "South", or "West" attached to the highway name [whichever name they happen to be using this time] apparently don't meet code. And when the two left-most lanes of the freeway suddenly diverge from the other three lanes causing you to think you've just missed another exit, don't worry, it comes back sooner or later.

    About the only place I've driven that is worse is Portland but at best it's a close call. I don't have much need for GPS driving down to my office but Seattle may be another matter. I am so tired of getting lost!!! It may be time to get a GPS navigator before they're outlawed.

    Back in day I could get anywhere with a map, but not anymore. Online maps can be terrible! I assume this results from the focus on coordinates now, and not names.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 16, 2012 #2

    Astronuc

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    I generally use the sun/stars and landmarks to navigate.

    Then again, that can be challenging in some parts of the globe that have overcast skies. :biggrin:
     
  4. Mar 16, 2012 #3
    You clearly need inertial navigation for your car. You could probably pick up an older non-laser LTN-72 system for cheap nowadays. Tie that in to a cheap laptop and you are good to go. No more worrying about pesky street names.

    I can see astro at an red light popping out the window with a sextant.
     
  5. Mar 16, 2012 #4

    Astronuc

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    I use my thumb or fist at arms length - properly calibrated, of course.
     
  6. Mar 16, 2012 #5

    turbo

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  7. Mar 17, 2012 #6

    Danger

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    I just go wherever at random, and then pretend that it's where I wanted to be.
     
  8. Mar 17, 2012 #7

    jtbell

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    Or you could forsake your membership in the male half of the species, roll down your window, and ask someone for directions. :uhh:
     
  9. Mar 17, 2012 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    Haha, you know, that is one stereotype that doesn't apply to me. I have no problem asking for directions. However, in my experience it usually doesn't help. Nine times out of ten you ask and get a shoulder shrug in return.

    Portland and Seattle are difficult because they are both river towns. I should also say that I am really talking about the greater Seattle area and not necessarily Seattle proper.

    I had a friend [now passed] who was a highly seasoned world traveler. He once told me that Portland is the most difficult city to navigate that he had ever seen. I know one gentleman who has lived in Portland his entire life [over 60 years] and even he has gotten lost a couple of times. I am pretty sure that it isn't possible to get to some parts of Portland. :biggrin:
     
  10. Mar 17, 2012 #9

    turbo

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    That's an old Maine joke about Vassalboro. A guy stops to ask for directions, and a local tells him "You can't get there from here."
     
  11. Mar 17, 2012 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    Back when I worked on CTs and MRIs, I covered an area that ranged from Santa Barbara to San Diego. But I never got lost as long as I had my Thomas Guide. A cheap map could get you lost but my Thomas Guide never failed me.

    I've just been putting off buying a navigator until I had a real need. In the past, if I was travelling it was generally outside of the NW. So I always flew and would just get a gps with the rental car. I know Portland well enough that I can generally find my way. But with all of the trips to Seattle this has become an issue. It can be nuts trying to make sense of things given the limited detail available on typical maps.
     
  12. Mar 17, 2012 #11

    Evo

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    Yes, GPS navigators are so reliable. *All I see is mud and the ocean, are you sure this is right? Yes, the GPS says to just keep going.*

    http://news.yahoo.com/gps-tracking-...ive-straight-pacific-172043575--abc-news.html
     
  13. Mar 17, 2012 #12

    nsaspook

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    Even the people who know where they are still can't drive in Portland.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  14. Mar 18, 2012 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    Haha, I remember that.

    Years ago, for a time I was taking the 212 into Milwaukie [Oregon] every morning from the Sandy area. If you know the area, you know the 212 is a pretty bad road with lots of sharp curves. If we had an ice storm, I would often see numerous cars in the ditch before I got to work. I remember counting six cars one day. One only needed to proceed cautiously to avoid losing control but apparently some people don't recognize the dangers of ice. Being that I'm basically a S. Californian, why I knew this and the locals didn't is a mystery to me.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  15. Mar 18, 2012 #14
    In the UK, taxi cab drivers have to pass one of the most stringent tests in the world in order to get their license. It takes almost two years to train for the test. Cab drivers are required to basically know the entire city of London by heart with no GPS allowed.

    Interesting on how it affects the brain:

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/12/london-taxi-driver-memory/
     
  16. Mar 18, 2012 #15
    You should just move to Holland! We don't have a lot of space to get lost in. :biggrin:
     
  17. Mar 18, 2012 #16
    That is very interesting.
    It's not clear, though, whether those that failed lacked a predisposition to plasticity or not:
     
  18. Mar 18, 2012 #17

    Dr Transport

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    I only get lost going to Ivar's under the bridge... Seattle is fairly easy after going there for ~10 years for work.
     
  19. Mar 18, 2012 #18

    lisab

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    Yeah. It's nutty. Here's a snip from a map of Seattle:

    ornfiq.jpg

    See, that's the intersection of 60th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 60th Street.

    Just relax, have another latte, and fill up the tank of the rental car - you'll be just fine!
     
  20. Mar 18, 2012 #19

    Ivan Seeking

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    I got lost trying to find the place we were having our pre-meeting - a Starbucks. I couldn't order my latte!!! :cry:
     
  21. Mar 20, 2012 #20
    I think Seattle planners did that intentionally to keep outsiders out. :biggrin: I think they failed. They also did really dumb things like make I-5 only two lanes going through the city heading north. Then built a convention center that straddled the interstate so that it could never EVER be widened to manage the population increase. They also think that taking a heavily congested road and removing car traffic lanes and adding bike lanes will make car traffic flow quicker and smoother. :yuck:

    Lisab - I just found out that there is a 148th St and Hwy 99 in Shoreline. AND Lynnwood. Apparently Google Maps isn't aware of that fact yet.
     
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