Jamie Morton

Jamie Morton is science reporter at the NZ Herald.

Don't just go where GPS says - if it looks like a paddock it probably is one

Photo / Brett Phibbs
Photo / Brett Phibbs

Motorists failing to update their GPS systems are being told to steer out of "paddocks" and on to the nearest road - while they are travelling on busy new motorway routes.

Automobile Association subsidiary company GeoSmart, which provides regularly updated data for major brands NavMan and TomTom, was seeing roading changes resulting in complaints from Auckland motorists being led astray by their GPS.

But most were using either out-of-date data or other software, sales and marketing manager Luigi Cappel said.

It comes as GPS-guided tourists in Otago have been running into trouble on non-existent roads. In Auckland, Mr Cappel had received complaints from motorists being directed off the new State Highway 18 motorway by two-year-old units.

In one case a driver, using a brand of GPS GeoSmart doesn't supply, was on Oteha Valley Rd wanting to get on to the motorway but was led 1km away and told to make a u-turn on to the motorway entrance.

And Aucklander Cathy Ellis has noticed how an obsolete GPS map could baffle people travelling along the motorway extension on the northwestern State Highway 16.

"If we are heading out west toward Kumeu, it doesn't recognise the motorway extension... it comes up that we are driving in a paddock," she said.

Mr Cappel suspected there were at least 100,000 units in the market with old maps.

"There is also the secondary issue where people buy their car nav unit, plug it into their car power socket and start driving, and then never or rarely connect it to the internet to update their maps."

He urged motorists to check information online at www.aamaps.co.nz.

Senior Constable Lox Kellas told an Otago Peninsula Community Board last week that tourists could be saved from getting in a "hell of a pickle" if GPS systems stopped sending them up paper roads.

- Otago Daily Times

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