Make a U-turn if possible: 63% of drivers say GPS got them lost

“The majority of U.S. drivers who have used GPS technology say they’ve been led astray at least once – either by being sent in the wrong direction or by receiving ‘complex, confusing and incorrect routes,’ according to a recent online survey conducted on behalf of Michelin Travel and Lifestyle, publishers of traditional maps, guidebooks and Web-based travel tools,” Jeanne Cooper reports for The San Francisco Chronicle.

“And despite the presence of Silicon Valley, the U.S. West has the lowest use of GPS as a primary guide to locate unfamiliar destinations — just 25 percent of drivers — compared to the peak of 35 percent in the Northeast, according to the Harris Interactive survey of more than 2,200 U.S. adults in April, Michelin announced yesterday,” Cooper reports. “Of all drivers who use GPS , they say it has misled them an average of 4.4 times, Michelin’s press release stated. That number is even higher among younger adults age 18-34 (I’m thinking they may also use it more often), who reported being misdirected by GPS 6.3 times on average, per Michelin, with 7 percent of all surveyed claiming to have been sent astray more than 10 times.”

Cooper reports, “Nearly 40 percent of those surveyed primarily rely on maps, printed directions, atlases and guidebooks to find their way to unfamiliar destinations, according to Michelin, trumping the 30 percent who depend on GPS. Nearly half (46 percent) of drivers with cars still keep road maps and/or atlases in their vehicles, including 56 percent of those age 55 and over — the largest age group, ‘not surprisingly,’ Michelin noted. That number drops steadily by age group, but even 34 percent of whippersnappers age 18-34 have one of those quaint papery things stashed in their dash or elsewhere.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s all Apple Maps’ fault. 😉

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “theloniousMac” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Analyst: Yelp to benefit from iOS 7′s significantly improved Apple Maps – June 5, 2013
Google’s new 3D Maps destroy Manhattan with melting buildings and buckled streets – May 22, 2013
Apple expands ‘Maps Ground Truth’ hiring worldwide – March 27, 2013
Apple Maps turning a corner – March 26, 2013
Developers prefer Apple’s iOS Maps SDK over Google Maps – March 19, 2013
Apple’s Maps being updated often and significantly – March 13, 2013


  1. I ain’t blaming Apple Maps, but it sure is easier to navigate off of directions than the Maps app. I just spent a week riding a motorcycle around California. Using Maps Turn by Turn just killed my battery (hey Apple how about an audio only setting in iOS 7?). I could never keep up with my speed. It sometimes directed me onto streets that were closed. It doesn’t have a setting to “Avoid Freeways”, “Avoid Tolls”, or “Find Fun Roads”.

    1. Anyone who uses turn-by-turn should have a charger in the car. Heck, anyone who takes their smartphone with them in a car should have a car charger and plug in their cell phone whenever they drive. There really is no reason not to.

  2. Well, just three weeks ago, Apple Maps on my new iPhone 5 led me to an empty field about five miles away from the church where I was supposed to be attending a wedding.

    It said the empty field was my destination.

  3. I’ve had satnav send me via convoluted routes, when I’ve tried using online systems, (Apple/Google), mainly because there’s little customisation available. I usually use CoPilot Live, because it give me a wide range of options regarding the type of road to favour, and speed limits; I think the problem is many drivers use the satnav ‘out-the-box’, and don’t dig into the menu, so they get directed down narrow lanes that shouldn’t have a car drive along them, let alone vans or trucks. This happens all the time here in the UK, foreign trucks trying to negotiate roads that aren’t wide enough for the cab unit, let alone a 40′ trailer…

  4. The only nav system that hasn’t lead me wrong is apple’s in my 4s.

    However, to be fair, Apple maps does not provide a direct route through north Georgia into North Carolina. Apple maps picks a mostly “highway” route that doesn’t consider traffic that is not an optimum route. Google maps on the computer picks the correct route spot on. This is really not a routing error on Apple’s part, it is more of an error in not allowing a manual choice in a different route with a similar distance and calculated travel time.

    Where Apple maps really shines is spot on address locations including on numbered routes.

    Lesson people: your GPS based Nav system is a guide, don’t forget to use your brain.

  5. Was using Apple Maps yesterday, took several detours as I knew where I was going. Maps immediately recalculated. I had estimated a 3:15 PM arrival at my destination, Maps 3:30 PM. Ran into traffic that I didn’t expect. Actual arrival time 3:30. Maps was perfect on this trip. Tom Tom got me lost once 3 or so years ago. Maps perfect.

  6. The most moronic drivers on the road (alongside texters, talkers, and drunks) are the ones w/ their eyes glued to the GPS unit, rather than on the road in front of them. Maybe if they looked up once in a while, they might actually read the road signs or other directional aides that are right in front of them.

  7. I have had two instances with Apple Maps where it directed me to the wrong location. Had similar problems with Google Maps prior to Apple Maps, and had even more problems with my TomTom navigation device on my Palm Vx before that (my house wasn’t added to that data for over 2 years).

    The satnav in my BMW requires me to buy new DVDs to get upgraded maps (not unusual in autos), but even my old DVDs don’t have many addresses and locations which have been around for a decade or more.

    I think part of the low usage rates in the U.S. West is that much more of the U.S. West was planned on a grid pattern than the U.S. East, which often tends to be centered on a port of entry and routes spread out in all sorts of strange directions. E.g., Phoenix has its major E-W and N-S roads spaced 1 mile apart, which makes navigation pretty easy without any map or GPS.

    Apple Maps and Google Maps are probably the best maps apps available, and certainly GPS navigation has improved tremendously in the past 5 years. But there will always be errors, problems with route selection based on local conditions, and other problems. Just the nature of the beast.

  8. Paper Maps, guides, and atlas has been a problem with accuracy. Just because the GPS has noted problems, other forms of guidance has errors as well. People carry maps and other sources with them- I do not know anyone that does and that is regardless of age. This is more worthless information created for an article that at first glance is for information. Really, just to fill a time slot for the journalistic impaired.

    GPS is a great source to use, but with ANY type of information, you have to use common sense to get there The person is the ultimate authority on filtering out the incorrect and not going DRONE on the highways or streets of the world.

  9. I use GPS systems everyday due to work. I’ve have used practically every make of GPS units and software available. Maps for Ireland especially are terrible but have got better over the last few years. The only units and software that have up to date maps and excellent navigation is, Navteq. All the other systems, TomToms etc use Teleatlas, which, unless you live in the USA where there is a turn every 100km (joke)are absolute crap! Now everyone is going to start now claiming their TomTom is brilliant and other makes work perfect, try going off the main roads, country lanes and see how good it works. Trust me, Teleatlas is the problem, and Apple went with them, Jesus!
    ps, I think Nokia now own Navteq so there maybe the problem!

  10. The article doesn’t say how many times the users of physical maps got lost (and the number is surely proportionately significantly higher than with GPS systems).

    There are two parts of the GPS navigation problem.

    First, it is the accuracy of the destination location. If the mapping programme can correctly identify the destination, then the user has no excuse for getting lost (hint: there are two dots on that screen; one represents your current position, the other your destination. Use the virtual map in front of you to figure it out!).

    The other problem is the accuracy of the traffic conditions (one-way roads, street closures, illegal turns, etc). These will directly affect the accuracy of directions.

    Without both of these, navigation will be a problem. Luckily, instances of either of the two being wrong are extremely rare.

  11. Ive had a Garmin 1490 Nüvi for a couple years and I’ve bee lead the long way several times. And it’s bluetooth hands free doesn’t always pair or get my commands right.

    I’ve talked with Garmin Tech Support several times shocked to hear that Garmin STILL hasn’t tested with iPhone5 and thus is quick to say they don’t support iPhone 5 accordingly.

    But what’s even crazier is that when talking to their techs, they are so clueless about iPhones it’s like they’ve never seen one, have no idea it’s impact or even market share.

    Like as in: “Apple who?”

    Call them, tell them you have a pre-sales and want to know if they support iPhone5 on their hands free units. Be prepared.

  12. no matter how much iphone app is great, it is still inferior to real navigation. get the real one. you will be impressed. that’s why I don’t use app based NAV. it’s not really accurate in other countries. you have no idea how it is inaccurate in Korea for example. it is only good for few European, North American countries. otherwise, real navigation is only option if you want to drive to particular place. so I say ‘sucks it’.

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