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Trip Report GPS and Maps in Ireland

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During the planning phases of our just-concluded four week trip to Ireland I participated in some discussion on this board about the value of a GPS. Based on that discussion GPS units clearly have got a lot of resistance to their use. During our early days of travel together my wife and I came to the understanding that she would be my navigator and that my two jobs were to furnish her the quality maps she needed and to follow her directions explicitly. By the former, that meant I was to assure that I got her maps with the appropriate level of detail. By the latter, it meant that I was not to improvise on my own whenever I felt like it. I agreed and we formed a splendid team.

About ten years ago we were traveling in Michigan on holiday and I rented a Hertz car with their Neverlost GPS system. It was an experiment which met some resistance from her. She said, “I can do anything this little cookie can do.” She changed her tune when that little cookie found us some lunch spots in an area outside Ann Arbor where we hadn’t a clue. Thus, Cookie joined us on our travels and we are now on our third iteration of a technology that seems to have very few limits.

On this trip we took Cookie III, our new Garmin Nuvi 2460LMT, complete with voice command and full maps of Ireland including locations of safety cameras. Of course, not being nearly so dumb as I look I had also equipped my wife with the most current spiral bound road atlases from both Ordinance Survey Ireland and Michelin, the former having greater detail, the latter providing both a broader view and being easier to read. Each had its place.

For those of you who think a GPS is just a substitute for maps, I ask you to think again. Cookie found us fuel places, ATMs, and grocery stores when we needed them regardless of where we were. She also found us places for lunch, showed us where we were relative to where we wanted to be when we strayed from the planned route, and helped us to avoid dead-end streets when we were not actually using her guidance features. In addition, Cookie found us alternate routes, warned us when we were in potential safety camera range, and kept us advised as to the speed limit and, if we wanted, the elevation of the terrain, our estimated time of arrival, and a variety of other pieces of information of interest to us. With the voice command feature she also allowed us to do a good many of those functions without our ever having to put our hands on her.

My wife, remembering our first trip to Ireland 16 years ago, commented numerous times on this trip on how invaluable Cookie was to her. Her greatest compliment: “Let Cookie do it.”

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