GPS Assisted Cornering

Disclaimer: if you crash, its on your own cash. No responsibilities taken for following guidelines here!

indexOkay, you might think this is some sort of AGPS crap, but no. This is how I’d describe driving with a GPS device hooked onto your car.

This applies to Sri Lanka, and I’m pretty sure it would for most Asian and other developing countries as well.

The fact that there aren’t many GPS providers with accurate data makes navigation; hell, to guys like me. I usually can’t memorize any road. The only roads I have in my head are the ones I travel or drive very frequently. Unlike my father and some other people like several cousins I have, I neither can tell a guy how to reach Kandy with n-turns and m-roads in the description nor can I listen to that description and figure the road out.!

That’s where GPS comes in. I’m not the kind of guy who buy expensive hardware off the market if there’s a free alternative. So my alternative is Google Navigation powered by Android. I’m not here to talk about Navigation and directions. I’m here to talk about Navigation and cornering.

The level of detail Gmaps gives in cornering was tested by myself on two trips now. The first was the family trip we had to Katharagama. It proved vital in the Horana-Rathnapura road. The second was the more recent trip to Badulla. In addition to the Horana-Rathnapura road, I used it for the entire trip.

Before I elaborate, take a good look at these

This is Racedriver GRID.

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and Need for Speed Underground (Sorry for the view, but this is the best I have in my collection)

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and this is my setup;

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Yes, it’s the lower left that makes them similar.

I know exactly what comes to your head. So let me explain.

The phone shows me the Google map in navigation mode (if you think navigation is disabled outside the USA, you need to grow up and root your phone) In the map is the latest and up to date version of the map. I say this because before these ‘trips’ I check the Google map myself and correct the road alignment to the map myself.

So before I reach any part of the road, I know how its going to lay out. The only thing I need to figure out is the placement of the vehicles in front of me.

I know, you still look a bit astonished. You have the issue; of the need to ‘look’ at the map to do that. This is where the pictures I showed you come in. If you have played NFS, GRID and most other racing games, you need to know when to keep the eye on the road and when to peek at the map. This needs intense practice.

If you keep your eyes in the map too long, you will crash for sure. and you need to keep in mind not to peek at every corner. Keep a small cache memory of the bends, and never peek while taking the curve.

If you’ve driven your car long enough and know what you’re doing with the map, this will be the coolest way to drive.

What I have seen is that most drivers calculate the speed of approach for a curve after they have reached the apex of the curve. In places where multiple curved exist, this is troublesome. And then they brake at the apex, resulting in a jerky ride, a gear shift and wasted fuel.

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With this method, you know what the bend looks like. This is the sort of knowledge which daily drivers have on these roads. then you can brake, shift or even accelerate accordingly to the bend ahead.

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Take a look at this bend-set. would you know that U shape before you take the first one to the right and then passing the smaller ones? If I was going in this spot, I’d stop overtaking others altogether, and start slowing down. Take the map off and visualize the bend. All you see is a left trun! And imagine this in the night.!

Hope you guys got my point. But remember, you need to

1. Keep you eyes on the road. NOT on the map. Just peek on it for several milliseconds.

2. Keep the device level with your vision. Never keep it anywhere you need to turn or lower your head to look at it.

3. Setup the system BEFORE you go.

4. Always keep in mind that the map might be wrong. use it to take a hint. Don’t try to drive the shown path

5. Use common sense (yeah right!)

Note: if you see the blue navigation path off from the yellow/white road, the road is probably right. Gmaps updates itself in stages, and when someone corrects the road, the navigation takes time to update. So the navigation layer might show old data.

If you see that some of the parts you drove was drawn wrong, go to mapmaker.google.com and correct it!

Cheers!

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