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Old 01-03-08, 05:41 PM   #1
randya
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Man Using GPS Drives in Front of Train

January 3, 2008
Man Using GPS Drives in Front of Train
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 6:19 p.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/A...gewanted=print

BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y. (AP) -- A Global Positioning System can tell a driver a lot of things -- but apparently not when a train is coming. A computer consultant driving a rental car drove onto train tracks Wednesday using the instructions his GPS unit gave him. A train was barreling toward him, but he escaped in time and no one was injured.

The driver had turned right, as the system advised, and the car somehow got stuck on the tracks at the crossing. He jumped out and tried to warn the engineer by waving. He got out of the way just before the train slammed into the car at 60 mph, Metro-North railroad spokesman Dan Brucker said Thursday.

The car was pushed more than 100 feet during the fiery crash.

Some 500 train passengers were stranded for more than two hours during the Wednesday evening rush hour. The accident also heavily damaged 250 feet of rail, Brucker said.
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Old 01-03-08, 08:19 PM   #2
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There are some incredibly stupid people in this world - and they operate deadly weapons.
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Old 01-03-08, 08:24 PM   #3
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What a moron.
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Old 01-03-08, 08:26 PM   #4
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A good friend of mine is a private pilot. He uses a PDA that contains GPS software in conjunction with a Sirius Sattelite Radio to have "cheapo" GPS on his Cessna 172. He owns it with two other guys and they didn't want to shell out $12K for an installed GPS system. The first time he was flying with it he noticed that the GPS readout on his PDA was about 125 feet higher than what his planes altimeter read. It was a good thing he noticed. Turns out that the softwares ability to auto adjust the ground zero height before takoff didn't work. Software glitch. Could have really sucked if he had been a lax type.
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Old 01-04-08, 08:11 AM   #5
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Holy crap!

I was ready to throw my GPSr out the window last weekend. Was trying to find an address just north of Tulsa and instead of routing me on main roads/highways, it had me on some cow path out in the freakin' woods. Ok, it wasn't quite that bad, but I'm never trusting it again. Same thing happened a few years ago in Colorado Springs. A good old paper map for me from now on thankyouverymuch.
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Old 01-04-08, 08:20 AM   #6
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GPS is fine for telling you where you are. It's dubious when giving speed, distance traveled and directions. Sometimes it's right - sometimes it's not.
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Old 01-04-08, 08:25 AM   #7
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There are some incredibly stupid people in this world - and they operate deadly weapons.
i didn't know that recumbents were deadly weapons?
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Old 01-04-08, 08:27 AM   #8
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That's it, outlaw them!

A GPS device is an aide to driving, not your guide. They have a lot of info but its impossible to have every address, street, ramp or whatever. Take them for what they are.
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Old 01-04-08, 08:28 AM   #9
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Train in 5 feet.
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Old 01-04-08, 08:29 AM   #10
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This story seems full of holes. The article says he got stuck at the crossing, which I assume means the GPS was right in that he was on a road. How did the car get stuck on the tracks? How is this the GPS' fault? Did the putz not bother to look at the railroad crossing signals? He still had time to get out of his car, so he had time to move his car if the car wasn't stuck. This isn't the GPS' fault.
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Old 01-04-08, 08:43 AM   #11
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You still need to look out the windshield when driving. Since a GPS is usually only accurate at best +/- 15' closing your eyes and following them blindly will probably result in failure.
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Old 01-04-08, 08:52 AM   #12
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You still need to look out the windshield when driving. Since a GPS is usually only accurate at best +/- 15' closing your eyes and following them blindly will probably result in failure.
+1

The GPS was not the issue there.
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Old 01-04-08, 09:01 AM   #13
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You still need to look out the windshield when driving. Since a GPS is usually only accurate at best +/- 15' closing your eyes and following them blindly will definitely result in failure.
fixed.
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Old 01-04-08, 09:05 AM   #14
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My wife turned in to entrance of a Naval Weapons depot because the GPS told her to turn. The nice men with rifles where not to happy.
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Old 01-04-08, 09:15 AM   #15
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My wife turned in to entrance of a Naval Weapons depot because the GPS told her to turn. The nice men with rifles where not to happy.
I wonder how often that happens......they must be really annoyed about all that.
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Old 01-04-08, 09:16 AM   #16
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Hope he didn't check the collision damage waiver on his rental agreement.
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Old 01-04-08, 09:23 AM   #17
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GPS is fine for telling you where you are. It's dubious when giving speed, distance traveled and directions. Sometimes it's right - sometimes it's not.
+1

We run GPS on a laptop in conjunction with mapping/road atlas software on Road Rallies but only to get a fix on our immediate location if needed (a.k.a. checking to see if we got lost). All navigation is done with paper maps, highlighters, and pencil scribbles.
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Old 01-05-08, 04:33 AM   #18
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A good friend of mine is a private pilot. He uses a PDA that contains GPS software in conjunction with a Sirius Sattelite Radio to have "cheapo" GPS on his Cessna 172. He owns it with two other guys and they didn't want to shell out $12K for an installed GPS system. The first time he was flying with it he noticed that the GPS readout on his PDA was about 125 feet higher than what his planes altimeter read. It was a good thing he noticed. Turns out that the softwares ability to auto adjust the ground zero height before takoff didn't work. Software glitch. Could have really sucked if he had been a lax type.
Built into the GPS standard is a random offset error that only the military knows how to decode. I have a GPS unit on my sailboat and I'll check it every so often to make sure I'm on course. Funny thing is it'll randomly tell me that I'm either 60ft above water-level or 100ft below the surface... heh, heh...
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Old 01-05-08, 05:22 AM   #19
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I work in a fruit orchard that backs on to a State forest interlaced with gravel roads with many, many junctions. It's pretty well out in the middle of nowhere.

Imagine our surprise when an icecream truck comes barrelling down the road parallel with our boundary. It stops at a junction, and heads off down a dead-end road. Five minutes later it turns around and stops at the first junction. Mysteriously from nowhere, a dark-coloured, late-model car appears (a government-type vehicle that really shouldn't have been there, either). The occupants of both vehicles have a conversation; the truck driver is heard to say something about a GPS on his mobile phone. He heads off down the road, then comes barrelling back up said road again. He finally disappeared after driving up and down the fenceline like a rabbit trapped by a hunting dog.

We didn't think much of it for a week until... you guessed it! The same ice cream delivery truck came barrelling down the road again. We were stunned, and this time we participated in the farce. The driver, in a singlet to show off his copious quantities of ink, came over as we wandered down to the fence towards the trapped truck, and said the GPS was telling him to turn left... down the dead-end road. He had been trying to get to a town on the other side of the range that the forest covers. The roads get mighty complicated in there, and the GPS didn't have a clue. But the driver -- different from the first one (we figured he was so late for his delivery, the ice creams had melted and he was fired) kept putting his faith in it.

The trouble was that my work colleague who has ridden trail bikes throughout that forest reckoned the pine plantation and harvesting meant you could be on a road one month, and it would look completely different the next. Anyway, he gave some directions to get back to the nearest town, like turn left, then left again... then we hid. Sure enough, the truck become lost at the very next junction, ended up at the top of a hill -- we're sure we heard lots of swearing and carry-on -- before it "escaped" up the fenceline, never to be seen again.

We figure that driver probably got the sack, too... for throwing an expensive phone with GPS capability out the window and deliberately driving over it.
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Old 01-05-08, 05:32 AM   #20
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Danno, that used to be the case, but not any longer. The SA (Selective Availability) feature was turned off, probably permanently, in 2000. Since then, GPS accuracy is limited only by the technology itself.

The errors you see are the inherent errors of the system. GPS is far from the hyperaccurate positioning system people make it out to be. If there's any amount of terrain/buildings/woods blocking a clear horizon, accuracy drops significantly. In an urban high-rise area, you're lucky to even get a position within half a mile of your actual location. Vertical accuracy is even worse than horizontal, by the way. The positional "isoerror surface" is shaped like an egg, or an American football, with the long axis vertical.

Even the best positioning by a stand-alone GPS is no better than about 15-20 ft average error. This has been found by hooking a fixed GPS unit up to a computer, logging the position every few minutes for days or weeks at a time.
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Old 01-05-08, 02:50 PM   #21
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Wasn't there a story a year or so ago about a woman in England who actually drove on the tracks because her GPS told her to?
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Old 01-05-08, 03:23 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randya View Post
January 3, 2008
Man Using GPS Drives in Front of Train
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 6:19 p.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/A...gewanted=print

BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y. (AP) -- A Global Positioning System can tell a driver a lot of things -- but apparently not when a train is coming. A computer consultant driving a rental car ..........


...................
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