Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday 25 August 2006

Bill gets himself SatNav enabled

That's a jargon enriched way of saying I just purchased a SatNav device. Whilst I don't need such a gadget for my day-to-day driving, I've been on a few journeys recently where this facility would have been useful and will at the beginning of next year be making one of the longest journeys by car I have ever attempted when I plan to travel (via a North Sea ferry to Zeebrugge from either Rosyth or Hull) to the southern Netherlands and after a few days there travel on to the Murcia region of Spain, where I will be spending about 3 months before heading back to Nairn in mid-April. I've done the trip to the southern Netherlands before, but from there on (apart from a section in France) it will be new territory for me by car until almost at my Spanish destination. Trying to manipulate paper maps whilst driving, which is what I would have done until now, and indeed would have been the only option until the last few years, is fine for shorter journeys, but would have become extremely cumbersome with maps of a sufficiently large scale to make the journey I am planning comprehensible. So I have taken the technology-based route to try and make the whole thing easier.

My machine is made by TomTom and I have gone for the GO 710 model, which has full mapping of western Europe. After getting the thing out of its box and getting it up and running (not quite as simple as is promised on the box) I thought I would take a brief trip to see it in action; sure enough, it took me the 25 or so miles for the short trip I decided on and used exactly the same route I would have, although on the return journey it took me by a somewhat different route, but not in my view the most rapid. However the slight detour it wanted me to take encouraged me to investigate the menu options in more detail so I now understand better how to get it to follow the parameters I set. I've also programmed in various tentative journeys, including the one I plan to take in going to Spain this coming winter - the level of mapping detail is quite extraordinary and the instructions the machine delivers are easy to follow. Verdict - so far it seems like an excellent purchase.

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