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Old 05-04-2011, 17:44   #76
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

I hope like anything that the future of GPS does not devolve into the quagmire of sim cards and unlocking protocols that hold the cell phone world hostage presently!

It does seem as if the Galileo Project is moving forward at a somewhat glacial pace... that may just be my imagination but it seems like it's been in the works for an awful long time...
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Old 05-04-2011, 17:46   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarafina
I hope like anything that the future of GPS does not devolve into the quagmire of sim cards and unlocking protocols that hold the cell phone world hostage presently!

It does seem as if the Galileo Project is moving forward at a somewhat glacial pace... that may just be my imagination but it seems like it's been in the works for an awful long time...
Well the EU has some rather pressing reasons to spend the 6 billon euros needed elsewhere just right now.
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Old 05-04-2011, 17:52   #78
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

Back to the OP the problem is not that the GPS etc. will pack up and stop working for some reason, which actually does happen all too often, but that the very act of using the things all the time creates a dependence that is not safe. I helped a guy down in Colombia get some computer repairs done, and his boat was one of the most wired I've ever seen. I think he had five different laptops onboard, multiple GPS units, etc., but he still managed to pile up on a blatantly obvious reef because he ignored old-time seamanship skills: never enter an unfamiliar harbor after dark, never rely on the accuracy of charts in foreign waters, especially electronic charts, etc. I suspect from talking to others who were involved with trying to talk him in, but do not know for sure, that he followed his electronics faithfully, which allowed him to find this shallow reef to anchor on in a place he never should have anchored in the first place. I see and hear of electronic-aided disaster all the time. I have been nearly run down in the fog numerous times by sportfishing boats proceeding at full tilt because they know where they are. I have friends who sail offshore completely enclosed in the cabin watching the radar and the chartplotter, but not keeping what I feel is a real watch. You can see and hear things, even at night, that can alert you to danger. I was in the Bahamas when for some strange reason the GPS position went off by a few miles for quite awhile. A bunch of us noticed it, but one boater panicked and called for help because his GPS chartplot wasn't matching up with his radar. We had to point out to him that if he just looked out of the cabin he could see where he wanted to go. In any case, yes, electronics have helped all sorts of neophytes get out on the water, but it also lulls them into a false sense of security.
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Old 05-04-2011, 17:55   #79
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

I learned to sail in the last century before GPS when SatNav was a new item so I had to learn celestial nav in the event I wanted to do offshore cruises. I learned to fly pre GPS when vor radials were the "cats pajamas" and my receiver quit working when I was doing my solo cross country flight in prep for the flight test. The compass in the ole Cessna 150 became my sole navigation aid except for the Allegheny River. Nowadays, I use everything available if I can afford it but I know that more often than not electronics can fail. I must admit that I had my nose buried in the Garmin while motoring thru the Dismal Swamp canal and nearly ran into the trees!!! Reminded me of "texting while driving" accidents.
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Old 05-04-2011, 18:09   #80
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

A few years ago a yacht was lost moving from one side of Eddystone point (Tasmania) to the other at night after a frontal passage driven wind shift. He hit a charted rock while entering the new anchorage. Reason? He had left the cursor on top of the rock and didn't "see" it.

A sad loss. Had he not had the chart plotter, it is unlikely that he would have attempted the movement. Could have stayed put and lost the boat, or could have put to sea until daylight.

Could have been me making that error, and I hope that his loss taught me something about the use of electronic charting!

Cheers,

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Old 05-04-2011, 18:29   #81
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

By the way, we've seen problems recently with car drivers relying on their GPS units which then lead them into trouble in Vermont and the Adirondacks. We have a lot of seasonal-only roads and the GPS has no way of determining that, so it leads people to drive into places that they shouldn't be going in the winter. There have been a couple of near-miss rescues of folks due to this. A couple of years ago someone drove right in front of a train down near NY City because the GPS told him to "Turn Now!" I was driving with a friend in his Mercedes when the same command issuing from the GPS would have turned us right into a concrete barrier if the driver hadn't been driving with mind engaged. And, of course, we also have the distracted driving issue due to all the electronics in the cabin.
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Old 05-04-2011, 18:33   #82
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Old 05-04-2011, 19:03   #83
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
In short GPS cannot be turned off short of a "Dr Strangelove" type situation. So don't worry about it.
With all due respect, I bet you are 100% wrong. I bet one decision by a US govt and the system is mute. GPS, Disneyland or whatever.

Personally, I have ZERO doubt the respective official WILL take such an action if this is what is best course of action for the US.

Unfortunately, we have to live a bit more to see who was wrong and who was right. And I hope I am wrong, not you.

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Old 05-04-2011, 19:38   #84
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
You knowledge of how the GPS works and how the Internet works seems incomplete. These two systems share nothing except their dependence on electricity and their global coverage.

GPS is NOT like the Internet in respect of how it functions and what the failure risks are.

GPS can be switched of by an arbitrary decision of one govt. (US). God bless America for the system but let us not take it for granted.

France (or more accurately the EU) have NOT dropped the case:
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikiped..._navigation%29

The Russian system is up and running but it is NOT available to us. I have seen only one receiver ever (by Magellan) apparently capable of using the signal. It was NOT a marine unit neither a leisure market product.
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikiped...S#Availability

Finally, I believe you are wrong in your statement that the US govt cannot switch the GPS because they cannot operate without it. GPS can be switched off selectively - both per area and per market segment (military / commercial / etc.). Google some and you will find pretty interesting information out there.

Cheers,
b.
Thanks B, sorry I was only speaking simplistically and generalizing.

However I think my point still stands and has been backed up by many on this thread who probably know more than me.

At the end of the day there are some things that will never happen.
Just like USA and the USSR never had a nuclear war, they could have but just wasn't worth all the other problems you create.
I think it's called responsible government.

And as for the internet, believe what you like but don't expect everyone else to.
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Old 05-04-2011, 19:45   #85
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

With Electronics, Columbus would never have discovered the Americas. They weren't lost but he was. If you lose all your electronics you will gain the opertunity to explore. It's not all bad. As Captain Ron stated in the movie " if we get lost, we just pull in someplace and ask for directions". LOL
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Old 05-04-2011, 21:32   #86
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

While all the technology available today may have helped making boating safer, more fun and certainly more available to many, it is the old skills that usually save the case when the proverbial dung hits the fan. Reason enough to keep trying to spread the old fashioned habits.

I'm sure I am not the only one to have learnt this the hard way, but it was when commercial pressures (go or you lose the job) made me go one day without a paper chart, that the GPS failed and I did not make it to the destination. When I tried using that commercial pressure as my defence with the boss, he said 'it was your responsibility one way or the other'. He was right and I lost the job all the same. Twenty years later I never go out without the basics. But I also make sure that I have as much help as I reasonably can get from the gadgets.
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