Is GPS Becoming Information Overload?


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Do you have a GPS in your car? I do, and sometimes it gets to be too much in traffic; between stop and go, lights, construction, and the sound of my GPS droning away, it can become a bit overwhelming. I’ve even been known to threaten to throw the yappy thing out the window a few times when it all becomes too much.

According to a Tech.view column in the Economist, it might not be me. Apparently, we can only process so much information at once, and beyond that, the brain simply cannot take it all in clearly. So as GPS gets more and more complicated, we may not be able to take full advantage of the extra details when we really need it (while driving). Instead, GPS units should become less complicated, providing only the broadest details necessary.

The whole article is a great read, and after you look it over, come back here and share your thoughts! Do you use a GPS in your car? How much detail is too much, and how much is just right?

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About the Author

Zek has been a gadget fiend for a long time, going back to their first PDA (a Palm M100). They quickly went from researching what PDA to buy to following tech news closely and keeping up with the latest and greatest stuff. They love writing about ebooks because they combine their two favorite activities; reading anything and everything, and talking about fun new tech toys. What could be better?

1 Comment on "Is GPS Becoming Information Overload?"

  1. It's an interesting point of view. I hold an almost opposite opinion, however. Over the last few years, the tendency in GPS devices and software has been to simplify – not complicate. For me, this means two things: less information available on the screen than before, and fewer customization options than before. GPS vendors have taken more of a “we willl tell you and show you what you need to know – don't worry” approach.

    Bottom line – you absolutely aren't getting the level of information you used to get out of these things and I find that frustrating. It's more difficult to set your zoom level to a specific range, show ALL road names, set your viewing angle (in 3D modes), fewer color range choices (most only offer day/night nowadays). In many cases you can't set ANY of this stuff anymore.

    The software makes more decisions automatically and leaves you out of the loop. Is this a step forward? I'm not so sure. Simplifying things for new users ok – eliminating control completely – NOT!

    So information overload? Not the problem I have!

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