Monday, February 28, 2005

NeverLost Room for Improvement

Another trip, another day's experience with the Hertz NeverLost GPS system. This system may be a lot better than what Avis has to offer, but it's not that good.

The GPS is not military-grade or survey-grade and so the location accuracy could be better. Occasionally this is a slight problem when determining when to turn (which is really the fundamental thing that you need the GPS to tell you). However, GPS accuracy is really the least of the problems.

Sometimes the maps don't show minor roads, and they never have any information on roads-that-aren't-roads, like shopping center parking lots or long hotel driveways.

In one egregious example on this trip, the map database knew about a highway but not about the on-ramp to the highway. As a result the feminine voice was telling me to make a left turn when it should have been telling me to make a right turn (onto an on-ramp which would loop around 180 degrees).

In another egregious example, when I was trying to reach a small company, located in a little industrial park, the GPS kept telling me that my destination was on the other side of the street from the little industrial park. I can't even explain why this would be except to say that the address database sucks.

On previous trips I've had a hard time finding exactly where a restaurant was located inside a hotel/shopping complex.

The "Yellow Pages" database contains few businesses other than restaurants.

There are separate databases, e.g. "Yellow Pages" and "AAA Tourbook", and they are not integrated. Your hotel might be listed in one database but not in the other. Good luck.

The task of finding destinations by name is horrible. Destinations with long names don't fit on the screen and are truncated. You may not be able to find your hotel if you're looking for the "Marriott" when your reservation is actually with the "Courtyard by Marriott". A pen-based system would be better than the keypad system.

Without delicate volume management, it's hard to listen to the GPS and the radio at the same time. The GPS and the radio should be integrated.

The "forward-looking" view which illustrates an upcoming turn is useless. The 2D overhead view conveys all the information that the forward-looking one does, and more, especially the location of the car relative to the turn, which is perhaps the most important piece of information.

Bottom Line: The product has major flaws which mostly have little to do with fundamental limits of the technology. If personal GPS were a personal computer, we would still be somewhere at the TRS-80 level. There is a giant opportunity for someone to make the GPS Macintosh.


Post a Comment

<< Home