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Is GPS still good 15 years later?


I've been using this navigation tech for a decade and a half. It's still amazing.

Back in August 2005, I bought my first GPS, a Garmin StreetPilot i3. These days, I'm using a Garmin DriveSmart 55. I could use the phone if I wanted, but don't. I'll talk more about that in a minute.

When you rewind the clock back to 2005, there are a few things to know. The iPhone did not exist as that did not happen until 2007. However, smartphones didn't really have true GPS mapping ability until 2012 - but only if you had a new phone at the time, which of course most people didn't because phones with that tech were still ridiculously expensive.

What all this means is that most people (regular people, that is) weren't using a phone for GPS navigation in the car until around 2015. At the time I write this, that's almost 6 years ago. In the world of tech, that's forever ago. But in the real world, six years is not a long time.

This basically means that prior to 2015, most people used a dedicated GPS a.k.a. PND (portable navigation device) in the car for GPS use to get from A to B. More specifically, you were using something made by Garmin or TomTom.

But is GPS still good, and has it improved at all since 2005?

Yes, still good. Conditionally.

If you use a dedicated GPS to get from A to B, again like a Garmin or TomTom device, then yes, you'll get to wherever you're going without too much fuss.

With Garmin in particular, GPS is better. Modern DriveSmart models have the best UI Garmin has ever had, and the devices also use GPS along with Galileo satellites (that system went live in 2016) for excellent positional accuracy. Newer models as a result hold a GPS signal much better compared to older ones.

With the smartphone however, there's a constant battle going on with physical size, battery life and the map app itself.


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