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My advice to GPS manufacturers

This is not about Apple maps. It is about the hardware devices you use in cars (yes I know you can use your iPhone or Android device with turn-by-turn but in general their software has all these problems too).

1. Update pronunciation of map components. Multiple issues here.

2. Map data need to contain the “Display” name (shown on the map) and a “pronunciation” name (for the text to speech). How can the voice mis-pronounce a place like Greenslopes? That’s two common English words, Green / Slopes, in a compound word.

3. Things like “STATE ROUTE 22″ or “NATIONAL ROUTE 3″ do not need to be SPELT OUT which is what it does currently (i.e. “Ess Tee Ay Tee Eee Arrr Ohh You Tee Eee Twenty-Two”). I’m looking at you Tom-Tom. The first time I encountered this in the device I nearly had an accident as I was at a complex and unknown intersection and suddenly the device is spelling out words which I am trying to piece together what it was telling me while navigating a high speed intersection / freeway off ramp.

4. Have an easy way to program “I don’t need this part of the route” into the device. For instance, to get from my Home to the major freeways/tollways nearby. I know how to do that, and I have preferred routes (paying attention to things like time of day, difficulty of turns across oncoming traffic, etc) for each freeway nearby which are different from the ones the device likes. Its really annoying to drive 100 metres from your house and have the device furiously be recalcing and telling me to turn around or make weird turns to get back on the route it wants me to take when I KNOW WHAT I AM DOING.

5. Sometimes what I need are directions to get onto the freeway in the right direction from where I am. Once I’m on the freeway going in the right direction (to/from city), I know where I’m going. The navigational problem is that I don’t know the current local area and the best way to get to the right freeway on-ramp.

6. Stick to the Main Roads on the way there. I’ve driven to places where it’s told me do make some STUPID SHORTCUT down a series of local streets because that’s 1500 metres shorter than sticking to the main road. NO. Stop it. This is OK for locals, but those people don’t want me transiting through their local streets.

7. Long-distance travelling modes. I know that Euros don’t usually have this problem so they never really think about it, but it’s certainly true in the USA and Australia. Sometimes I know where I’m going and how to get there. What I want to use the device for is to warn me about speed cameras, tell me my current speed (more accurate I think than the speedo and important for the speed cameras) and give me on the screen the distance to the destination and time of arrival. The last two won’t work without a destination programmed into the device. So they need a sort of mode to shut the navigation instructions up – this ay do also for points 4 and 5 … a “shut up until …” mode or even a simple always-visible on-screen button or one on the hardware that mutes only the navigation instruction voice when you don’t care about but leaves the safety camera warnings ding.