Streets of Desire

Having been driving around for the past two weeks (rented a car to visit people) and relying on GPS navigation software (Nokia Maps and Navicore, mostly - they suck in different ways, but Nokia Maps is pretty okay for the money, though I still rely on Navicore more)... India and Africa and a lot of other nations have an immense number of streets which are unnamed. This, of course, presents challenges to navigation.

What would happen if Google or Navteq or Tele Atlas or Nokia some other big navi/map provider were to just de facto name the streets? Could they make it stick? Would the locals adopt those names? Could the big corporations, assisted by automatical software and imaging/GPS satellites, keep track of the changing of important public infrastructure better than the local officials?

'cos if these companies are hell-bent on selling everyone navi software and maps - and we all know how picky computers are with names and labels - something's gotta give somewhere.

(Oh yeah, Ropecon. Trying to get there, but still sitting lazily at the computer...)


I'm sure the locals will have plenty of folk names for the streets. But he the point of naming is to improve navigation, there's not much point the mapco's naming streets if they're not going to be erecting street signs.

GPS voice: in 100m, take the next left down Grape Lane. Driver: er, which of these anonymous streets is Grape Lane? GPS voice: in 50m, take the next left down Grape Lane. Driver: yeah, but which... GPS voice: you have missed your turning. Recalculating route. In 500m, take the next right down Letsby Avenue. Driver: ... Stupid machines ...

Bonus link:

--Hugo, 18-Aug-2008

For the first one, yes. For the next one, maybe. But after a few hundred users, all complaining to the locals that the street sign is missing, it might start to work.

Note that currently most GPS devices don't say the road names - and since the roads don't have names, it would be like "turn left on the third anonymous street", anyway. So no real difference...

--JanneJalkanen, 19-Aug-2008

So, if it ain't broke, why fix it? Have I missed the point, what is the actual challenge to navigation?

--Hugo, 19-Aug-2008

It *is* broken. It's just that unless the streets are named, you can't move forward. This is essentially taking a temporary hit to make it better in the long run...

--JanneJalkanen, 19-Aug-2008

I bought my first auto GPS unit and it, fortunately, does call out the street names. I feel fortunate. I thought they all did that. I cringe, however, when I hear the words, "Recalculating route." It would be more interesting to have her say something like, "You missed the bloody turn you fool. Now you must turn around, as I am not going to recalculate this whole trip!"

--Richard, 22-Aug-2008

Heh. Maybe there should be a "mother-in-law" -option in GPS devices.

--JanneJalkanen, 25-Aug-2008

what I love are the units that translate 'st' to Saint instead of street. keeps the drive interesting, that's for sure!

--Wanda, 08-Sep-2008

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"Main_blogentry_080808_1" last changed on 08-Aug-2008 18:22:25 EEST by JanneJalkanen.
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