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The guaranteed way to get the right car directions every time


This is something I learned many moons ago, and it always works.

The way I use GPS navigation is with a Garmin DriveSmart 66. However, even if I weren't using a Garmin and instead used Google Maps, Waze or something else, what I'm about to describe would still be the way I'd get to places.

The problem

I enter in an address for a place, and every now and then the destination given to me is slightly inaccurate. This doesn't sound like a big deal, but it is when approaching the destination.

Any one or more of the following can happen:

There's more, but you get the idea.

The solution

Use GPS coordinates acquired from Google Maps satellite view.

About 15 years ago in the late 2000s well before before anybody had smartphones, I figured out quickly that the only way to get exactly where I wanted to go was from using GPS coordinates. When you use coordinates, it's an absolute. Direct coordinates input will take you precisely to a destination with a variation of only +/- 10 feet or so. It's that accurate.

On the desktop using Windows using your web browser of choice, enable satellite view in Google Maps from the bottom left "Layers" button, find the location you want to navigate to on the map, right click and the coordinates are shown. The image above (the entrance to a parking garage in Austin TX) is an example of that.

On mobile, it's slightly different. I load in the mobile browser, swipe up the bottom menu, touch "Satellite" to enable satellite view, find the place on the map I want to navigate to, zoom in super tight (if I don't, Google Maps will keep trying to give me the nearest address), touch and hold, and then I get the coordinates:


I can use the coordinates on whatever mapping system I have. Garmin GPS navigator, Google Maps itself, Waze or whatever.

The only thing you have to remember is what positive and negative numbers mean.

For the first number (latitude), positive is north and negative is south. For the second number (longitude), positive is east and negative is west. The only time you have to remember this is when punching in the location to a Garmin GPS.

Using the above example, on a Garmin it would be input as N 30.265385 W 97.737160. Easy enough.

It's literally the last mile where most navigation problems happen

More often than not, the most stress I have whenever going anywhere unfamiliar is when arriving at the destination. The last 5 minutes is where all the anxiety builds up, but I outright avoid a ton of that anxiety just by using coordinates instead of street addresses.

I'm good enough at choosing coordinates now to where I'm usually successful at avoiding all the stuff that stresses me out at the last mile.

The only time this method doesn't work is if the Google Maps satellite image for the destination hasn't been updated in a while. Am I screwed at that point? Nope. That's when I go to Bing Maps, because sometimes their satellite views are more up-to-date.

One way or another, I get those coordinates, because they work better than anything else.

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