in my service the GPS is a great tool, but it is only as good as the information that the programmers receive that send the information out over the satellites. That is why we confirm a location by also looking up a location in the map book. If you are not careful the GPS will get you lost.,
Oh, yeah, I totally agree, having learned the hard way. I assume it's especially bad in rural areas, where I volunteer. The first time I tried GPS, it led me down a dirt road with a locked livestock gate across it. Another time, it really REALLY wanted me to go a way with which I wasn't familiar. I ignored it. Later I found out that that road ended at the shore of a lake. It's so tempting, though, to use GPS. I'll still probably use it occasionally, but take it as mere advice, rather than obey blindly.
My GPS has never failed me. It has never taken me to a wrong street or told me that it didn't know what I was asking for. Technology is our friends. Granted, it doesn't always take me the most direct route, but generally I know how to get to the area of the call and then the GPS will guide me to the precise address.
The only problems we have had with our GPS is that the older field staff can't figure out how to work it properly, so they feel the need to damn it. The other problem we have, is that our IT person didn't think of it or agree to it, so he is opposed to it. We shouldn't run away from technology. We should embrace it and learn how to maximize it's potential.
We use MARVLS as our mapping system, but I still prefer the old fashioned map book. It has never failed me yet. I have found that the MARVLS laptop makes an excellent place to rest your coffee mug between calls and can serve as a halfway decent picnic table, if the need arises for a Front Seat picninc...
Our entire EMS system's response performance improved significantly when we went to GPS based AVL and IVN (in-vehicle navigation). Without adding a unit, our compliance with our response performance standard (11minutes, 59 seconds, 90% or better) went from 87.5% to 91% the first month.
If AVL/IVN doesn't work for you, I'll bet you a cup of coffee that the problem is related to bad data in the underlying map. It is really the only possible cause, because GPS fixation and computerized map-routing are very firmly established technologies. We are fortunate to have an OUTSTANDING county GIS department, which updates streets as they are opened and uploads new data to our server almost daily. The only wierd routes we get are when the speed limit on record for the street and the acutal travel speed on the streets vary significantly.
Our service just started putting GPS in out rigs. While it can come in handy, I still rely in a map and my knowledge of my local to get me there, and I don't leave the station untill I know where I'm going and how I'm getting there. I find it does come in handy showing you upcoming cross streets, specially when its hard to read the street sign or when the signs are turned or missing.
Can I just say this happens to me all the time! I get so ticked some times and ask them if they know where the books are in the truck.... and they reply "we got them"... and me being just a mean ole dispatcher responds with read then, its not just for collecting dust!