Sunday, January 12, 2014

Smarter GPS on Smart Phones

Do you have a built-in GPS device in your ride or got a dedicated GPS device like the Garmin?  Now that almost everyone of us is using a Smart Phone, you can easily download a GPS mobile app from Apple App Store or Google Play.  I am using Waze (pronounced as ways) which is developed by an Israeli firm that was bought over by Google in 2013.  

The feature that I appreciate most is the capability to recommend a faster route when the system detects from other users' location data that the current route  is jammed up.  Here's a real example that I encountered earlier this week:

I now use it regularly as I will know the estimated arrival time and can let my friends and family know ahead if I will be late.  This reduces the stress of rushing in traffic and in turn, makes it a safer commute.

In relation to my previous post about the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE), I think GPS users contributed to the congestion in the East-West traffic as most GPS devices or mobile apps were not updated when the East Coast Parkway (ECP) no longer connects to Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) from 29 December 2013.  In fact, Waze was also not updated until 5 January 2014.

The wrong route did not impact me as I was traveling West-East and just continue onto the MCE but I had to rely on the directional sign to exit MCE to join ECP.  Other than that initial usage feeling unfamiliar, I find the change does not make much difference to the daily commute to work except that I miss the nicer scenery from the Benjamin Sheares Bridge.

I find that GPS is becoming a technology that is integrated into my motoring life.  What about you?

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