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Auto GPS Navigation in White Out , Snow storm

560Dennis 0 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Discussions
:?: I was wondering if anyone has had to use the (Auto ) GPS to stay on the road during a (White Out) Snow Storm.? We get into some pretty bad storms along the I-90 ( Lake Erie ) Snow belt. Not kidding you can't see the exit to get off. You say well why are on the road ? Well you can be in trouble in less than 2 miles, and that all it takes.

Comments

  • gatorguy 327 Points
    If you can't see the road, don't count on your gps being accurate enough to keep you there. When "lock to road" is mentioned, it means the on-screen vehicle icon will show you on the road even if you aren't. :wink:
  • dhn 336 Points
    The other winter, I was in a whiteout one night in ski country. I remember the TomTom showed the position of the car as I was travelling along a curvy road. It really earned its keep that night ... not that I'd recommend driving in those conditions if at all possible.
  • Boyd 2027 Points
    I lived in upstate NY near Lake Ontario for almost 20 years so I am quite familiar with the conditions you describe which are caused by lake effect snow.

    First, ask yourself whether it's worth it to go wherever you think you need to go in the middle of a white-out. If so, then you should be concentrating on looking at the road and not your GPS screen.

    I think the GPS can be helpful in knowing how far it is to the next turn and whether you are still on the right road, but you can't use it like a video game and steer your car by watching it.

    For one thing, your position is only updated once per second with automotive GPS'es. The screen may be refreshed more often than that, but it is estimating your position based on the assumption that you will continue moving in the same direction and speed. Even at 20 mph, your car travels about 30 feet in a second. You could be off the road in a snow bank before the GPS screen gives any indication.
  • dhn 336 Points
    Absolutely agree........the one time I referenced in my post, trust me, I was not going anywhere near 30 mph. More like 5 mph on that road.
  • gatorguy 327 Points
    I guess my point was if your device is for road use and includes a "lock to road" function, how would you know if you strayed 50 feet off the road? In addition, the roads are not mapped perfectly. Easy to see if you have an old StreetPilot or any handheld with recent road maps. Turn off road lock if necessary and drive around for 30 minutes, backtracking just to confirm. Then take a close look at your reported path compared to the map.
  • dhn 336 Points
    Not denying what you say at all. I definitely would NOT rely on a gps for an extended period of time in those conditions whatsoever.

    For the short period of time (a few minutes), I found it useful. That's all.
  • Boyd 2027 Points
    edited December 2009
    Gator, you are absolutely right. The roads are not mapped very accurately. The maximum resolution supported by Garmin's map format only has 10 meter accuracy, and as you say, the GPS will lock to the nearest road even if your position is not being reported on the road.

    You don't even need an old streetpilot to test this with the Nuvi. Just turn off the City Navigator maps and drive a little while. Then turn the map back on and compare. But use a minor road which isn't shown on the basemap, because that also supports road lock.
  • gatorguy 327 Points
    Well if you aren't going to argue with me, what fun are you today :lol:

    I knew you knew that. Just posted for the lesser informed.
  • dhn 336 Points
    Well if you aren't going to argue with me, what fun are you today :lol:

    I knew you knew that. Just posted for the lesser informed.
    It's early Gator..........lots of time left in the day! :P

    p.s. left a pm for you at TTF.
  • Boyd 2027 Points
    Well I was a bit surprised that you didn't find a way to somehow connect this thread to your new Dakota. What's that expression?... "When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail" :P

    There you go... am I living up to your expectations now? :lol:
  • alanb 557 Points
    Here in Iowa, we just this week experienced the conditions you describe ... foot of snow, 50 mph winds. It is so easy to get disoriented in those conditions, especially at night. While the gps isn't accurate enough to keep you on the road or give you the exact place to turn, it is very helpful to know you are still on the correct road, going the right direction and haven't gone past your intersection. And of course being able to report your exact coordinates if you do get stranded could save your life. The best advice is to stay off the roads, but if you get caught in a blizzard, a gps and cell phone definitely need to be in your emergency kit.
  • mmsstar 96 Points
    edited December 2009
    I also live near Cleveland out in the "Snow Belt" of Chardon in Geauga County. I have since learned that Chardon was the old Indian word for Snow while Geauga was the old Indian word for Deep :lol:

    While I have not used my Garmin in a white out yet I did use it in some "Pea Soup Fog" in Sacramento last year on the day before New Years Day. We flew in around 11:00 PM and it was thick fog and dark to boot. Without the Garmin I might still be driving around the aipport trying to get to our hotel. Since it was dark and foggy the street signs were virtually invisible so my previous navagation method using good old paper maps would have left me in the lurch.
  • dhn 336 Points
    It is also documeted how GPS units were used post-Katrina in New Orleans to direct Emergency Responders to survivors via the lat/long coordinates since roads were obliterated.
  • Marc 301 Points
    Well I was a bit surprised that you didn't find a way to somehow connect this thread to your new Dakota. What's that expression?... "When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail" :P

    There you go... am I living up to your expectations now? :lol:
    Actually I would much rather use the new Dakota in a blinding snowstorm than any road GPS where the "lock to the nearest road" feature cannot be turned off. That way you only have two sources of error (normal GPS and map) as opposed to adding the fact that even if the GPS knows where you are it is going to tell you it is twenty feet to the right to make it appear you are on the road. :wink:
  • It will work , close enough for me .

    If I can get to an exit it will be a stress saver.

    To me being in one of these once without GPS on I90 Willoughby to Conneaut coming home from Cleveland State at NIGHT. The snow was coming down so fast that you could not see the tracks of the cars that went before you . That's at 10 to 15 mph . There is absolutely no deepth perception. The Exits have lights but it really makes tring get off worse because the ramps have guard rails that are hidden so having a GPS YOU A REAL Advantage. Especially when someone is trying to tailgate you. His lights blind you even more. The Chardon Painesville Exit is the worse because its big and well lit and that makes it a real huge problem

    Thanks
  • Up here in the great white north(halfway between Alaska and lower 48 borders) we know about snow, darkness, and unmarked roads. You can be on a highway for 3 times as long in a storm and that throws off your judgement as to where you are and where your next turn is. I like to glance at the gps once in a while to clue me in as to my progress in low visibility, and then resume the death stare into the storm. An automotive gps can be anything from a comfort toy to a lifesaving aid, depending on circumstances. I would definitely prefer to have mine with me.
    Those Ice Road Truckers are guided to stay on the ice roads with the help(but not only) of gps technology. Does anyone know what units they use to track the frozen trails across lakes and tundra? They must be following 'tracks' laid down earlier as there are NO roads. Almost like handheld hiking.

    Look at this, snowing right now @ 2"/hr, coming down sideways. The wife and kids are off to dance and shopping, and I'm getting ready to go out and join the boys in a snowshoe expedition. Life as usual. :D
  • I used to have to travel I 90 / 271S right through the snow belt everyday. That 2-3 mile stretch was no picnic. I know what you mean about white outs. Just go very slow and remember good tires and windshield wipers are everything.

    Bill
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