I am stunned by the people that I know that do not know how to use a compass, or read a map. Not to be a dick, but they are almost all female. Have a small group that I go trail hiking with, and there are trail markers, but these ladies have no clue as far as directions go. It’s kind of scary. I’ll point out N,S,E,W on the compass, and also show them where the sun is in the sky, and the time of day, and they are oblivious to it. When we hike around a river, I point out that if we are going downstream with the river on our left, all we have to do when we go back is have the river on our right and it’ll take us right back, and they are amazed when it does, lol. It is definitely not safe to be out in the woods and clueless about directions, lol.
Plenty of guys are helpless too. Remember Tim talking about when he was in training for aircrew? His time as a ground pounder served him well, because he had a good eye for direction and map-reading. Other guys really struggled.
No doubt about it. The people I was referring to are smart, but they just rely on their phone for everything direction related.
On a backpacking trip at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the U.P., on the last day, cleaning up dishes at the lake edge, a guy suddenly appeared out of the woods. He was in a pair of cutoffs, no shirt, no bugspray,no food, no map, no compass, just a water bottle. He said he had been lost overnight, said he got lost almost immediately after leaving the trailhead. Said he was just going out for a short hike, so he didn’t even have a daypack.
He was a bug bite from head to toe, the skeeters were incredibly fierce at the time. He was drinking unfiltered water straight out of whatever he came across as he wandered. He was a mess.
We fed him, and as it turned out we were in the same TH parking lot, a couple of hours hike away. As we walked, he many times asked us if we were still on the trail, and if we were going in the right direction. We just laughed, showed him the map, and compass reading, pointed out trail markers as we walked, but he was still pretty shook up. The hike back to the TH was uneventful, other than the cloud of mosquitos that seemingly laughed at the bugspray we had on. It turns out he was from west texas, and I guess the hiking there was much more wide open than in the deep woods of the UP.
So yeah, lack of navigation skills are not gender related, lol.
After a work day, raced out to the woods to scout for places to put a tree stand for hunting. Starts to get dark early in the Fall, so knew I didn’t have much time. Forgot compass and gps in truck. Was walking across woods, not on a trail. After about 5-10 minutes, came to the sudden realization that I did not know what direction I headed out on. Kept my wits about me, and was able to slowly piece my way back, but that was a really careless, stupid mistake on my part. Haven’t made that mistake again.
My husband lost my car in D.C. His phone was giving him wrong directions to a place he worked for two years, and he was running late, so he parked at the end of a street and then walked the wrong direction. He finally got himself turned around and made it to his meeting, but then could not figure out where he had parked the car (and it was now dark). He finally took the Metro home and was picked up at the station, so he had to take a couple of family members down the next day to find the car, which was about half a mile from where he thought it was. I had given him a compass for our 50th anniversary a couple of days before all of this.
Early on, before GPS, we learned the hard way our sense of direction in foreign cities was bad, so I carried a compass… Then along came Garmin, in Paris, slow to react, did not work well in city streets, back to the compass, later in the midwest, while I tried the Garmin, a niece and her iPhone reacted way, way faster, I tossed that Garmin, went for the iPhone as soon as Verizon checked in with one…
Garmin got me in trouble in the sierras, took me down a road with no bridge to get over to the town I wanted to go, had a devil of a time getting truck, trailer turned around to get out and back where we should have been… Always checked the maps after that bit…
But today, even keep a compass in the truck, a compass app on the iPhone… and maps at hand as well…
Oh, and added Apple AirTags tp DW’s keys, another in my camera case, handy…
GPS started as a military project and initially the military introduced random errors in the civilian version to prevent enemies from using it to hit American targets. At least that was the story we were fed. I tried it out in Maine around 2000 and it had me driving quite a few feet away from the road the car was on.
“Know who you are and where you are and when you are” was the mantra of my grandparents and parents across every aspect of human life. Accepting the consumerist version of who I am (YOU deserve a break today! at McDonalds"), the digital nanny version of where I am (“you are where you need to turn left in fifty feet…”), and the “never mind history as it is obsolete and makes people unhappy” version of when I am (my examples would be too political, too awake), well, that’s STOOOPIDITY in spades.
(family heirlooms include paternal great granddad’s 1870 surveying gear and a map he surveyed and drew of San Jose in 1874 before laying the first concrete municipal sidewalks, and maternal great great granddad’s compass used on the Oregon Trail manufactured in Connecticut in 1843.)
Bought a Garmin when I bought the VW, which does not have a built in compass. I call it " Gruppenführer Helga, the dash (banned word for German movement)", for her combination of stubborness, erroneousness, and just plain wrongness. The mispronunciations would be hilarious, if I wasn’t actually trying to get somewhere. She pronounces road “round”. In Ohio, they have county highways, abbreviated C H, which she pronounces “church”. When driving to Columbus, she spends about 40 miles of my taking a more direct, faster, route, trying to get me to turn around and go her way, she will give me nonsensical directions like “take round, on right, to church 215”. I haven’t had occasion to see how she butchers Schoenherr Rd, which is pronounced “Shainer”, in metro Detroit.
Then there was the time I was driving down a 4 lane main drag in Ann Arbor, when Helga decided I had left the road, and stopped giving directions entirely.
I gave up on Garmin, I’d bought new, the international version so we could use it in our overseas travels, well, as I found, that was a waste… Found another US version at the flea market for $5, about the same, I think I replaced the battery on one of 'em, maybe still buried in the garage somewhere, long replaced by iPhones & Carplay linked to my PU, as we used to use it more for camping, towing… The Route correction has gotten better and better, still tries once in a while to turn me around, but does give up once it set the folly of it’s ways, maybe it’s learning a bit…
I think Garmin’s $100+ fee for updates was the beginning of the end for them, one less thing to pack on trips…
On mine, updates are “free for the life of the unit”. Thing is, when an update is loaded, it doesn’t overwrite the existing data. Instead, the unit locks out the memory with the old data, and writes the new data in a different block of memory. Eventually, the unit runs out of memory, so you toss it. I only do the map updates in the fall, after my travel season is over, so that, if the thing pukes during the update, I have all winter to consider alternatives.
The “subscription” model is every greedy “JC’s” dream now. Make a profit when people buy your product, then keep bleeding them, for the life of the product. In some cases, like map and anti-virus software, there is a continuing cost incurred by the service provider. But some of the things OEMs are trying, like BMW charging to use the seat heaters, when the heaters do not require continuous investment by the OEM, is nothing but customer abuse.