Google Maps will now route you based on live traffic

Discussion in 'Android OS' started by Magellan, Mar 7, 2011.

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  1. Adama D. Brown

    Adama D. Brown Brighthand Reviewer

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    Despite it's relatively small size compared to the rest of the country, and the population density along the east coast, there's still plenty of places out of touch in the north-east. It's bigger than people think, and the ruggedness of the terrain means that one cell tower can't cover a large bubble the way it would in a flatter and more open area somewhere out in the plains states. Last year I took a trip up to Maine with my then-girlfriend, and both my AT&T and her Verizon service cut out just a few miles outside her hometown. Likewise on the way back, there were plenty of spots where the service cut out, even some where GPS maps would have been really useful.
     
  2. Ed Hardy

    Ed Hardy TabletPCReview Editor Staff Member

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    Given a choice between 30 minutes of stop-and-go driving and 45 minutes on an alternate route that's moving, I'll almost always go with the alternate route. It's much less frustrating.

    A few weeks ago, I met with TeleNav (the company behind Verizon/AT&T/Sprint/T-Mobile Navigator) and made this same point. Their system can recommend alternate routes around traffic, but won't do so if they take any longer. I told them I'd rather make that call.
    -
     
  3. Hook

    Hook Naked and Unbroken

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    I remember years ago (1990s) in NY when I worked in Winchester and lived in Rockland County. The bottleneck was the Tappan Zee Bridge, only direct route. One accident would take it out for hours. When it happened, I new all the back roads and drove all the way up to the Beat Mountain bridge and back down. A whole lot of extra miles but 1) I kept moving and 2) I got home faster than waiting for the bridge to clear.
     
  4. Varjak

    Varjak Mobile Deity

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    Adama, I don't think some people realize how rural upstate NY, the Southern Tier, etc. can actually be. Much less large parts of PA, NJ (yes, even NJ), CT, MD, NH, ME, VT, etc.
     
  5. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    I knew about Maine because I've looked at their coverage maps. Most everybody there seems to be crowded into the southeast. Likewise, New York is a sizeable state that probably has an "outback" towards Canada. The others I never thought of as rural. But then, I've never been up that way.

    Sharp terrain does indeed make a heckuva difference. I deal with that on a daily basis.
     
  6. JRakes

    JRakes NOT your Average Joe

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    The terrain is the biggest issue here with reliable coverage. All of the major carriers offer service here, but only a couple have "blanket coverage." Most only have coverage within / very near towns and along major highways. AT&T has, by far, the best coverage. VZW has made great progress in the past couple of years.

    The fact is, in mountainous terrain, an enormous number of towers are required to prevent "shadows" in signals. Those have to be very strategically positioned, as well, and it's not uncommon to look up a mountainside and see a tower, but be "below" its signal coverage, which is just as bad as being on the "other side of the mountain."

    Still, though, I love my mountains. I'll gladly sacrifice a few things to keep my peaceful, scenic environment. :)
     
  7. internetpilot

    internetpilot Flying Dog (...duh...)

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    I've actually been in parts of NC, VA, and GA where the mountains actually blocked the satellite signal on my TomTom. Not to mention the time in NC where the hard drive in my TomTom GO700 froze (literally) in a 17-degree parking lot while skiing for a couple hours.

    When it comes to GPS navigation, nothing is a sure thing.
     
  8. JRakes

    JRakes NOT your Average Joe

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    I'm in the upper-east corner of TN, between NC & VA, here in the mountains. Yes, even GPS satellite comms can be "blocked" by the terrain. Or heavy foliage, such as dense tree canopies. Get yourself in a narrow valley or on some mountain road in a heavily forested area and you might or might not get a signal, of any type.

    Similar effects can be found in the "concrete canyons" of major cities, but in those situations you're much more likely to have dense signal coverage. When you have a lower population density, that coverage isn't typically as dense, so the more rural areas, particular in the more mountainous areas, you're pretty much SOL for comms.

    There's still something to be said for good ol' common sense and an inate sense of direction and navigation. One of my sisters and I seem to have inherited that latter trait from our dad. My other sister and my mom, OTOH... Crossing the street and navigating 3 blocks is sometimes a challenge. And the tech-challenged mentality would make a nav system more of a problem than a solution... :rolleyes:

    Some people really should just stay at home. Or have a driver. ;)
     
  9. Adama D. Brown

    Adama D. Brown Brighthand Reviewer

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    This is true. A good point to make is that New York has a state park--a SINGLE state park--which is in land area only 10% smaller than Massachusetts. And that's only a small fraction of the land north of NYC. You don't need to get that close to Canada for it to get backwoodsy. :D

    But if you do get to truly northern New York... New York's 23rd Congressional District, the "north country" which has a population of 654,000 people, is 14,739 square miles, making it larger than the nine smallest US states.
     
  10. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    Yep, The Appalachians. I'm at the very toe of the foothills. I can drive a mere 20 miles or so south and be in the coastal plains. I've never been in terrain so steep as to occlude a signal to a navigational GPS. I've actually sat by a window and gotten a signal on my Blackberry. Navigational GPS can still function with multipath, which is GPS talk for reflected signals. Our survey-grade GPS has to have a straight path from the satellite to the receiver, must have 4 satellites bare minimum, and they have to be in a good distribution high enough above the horizon to get a fix. If we didn't pay for Glonass as well as the U.S. satellites, we'd be in a mess.

    If you get in a small valley (or concrete canyon), the horizon is reduced to a small slice, reducing the available satellites and really screwing up the mathematical strength of the others.

    Of course, maps are still a perfectly good solution.
     
  11. Varjak

    Varjak Mobile Deity

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    I will say this; I was once up in the NYS boonies doing some flyfishing and my crappy Verizon phone was the only one that got any reception anywhere in the area.
     
  12. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    That's pretty much my experience as well.
     
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