Since I was a kid I have had a fascination with maps.

I used to spend my pocket money on the things and managed to collect the complete set of half-inch scale maps of Ireland.  I think there were about twenty five of 'em.

There was something magical about studying a sheet of paper and being able to visualise the rolling landscape and the towns and villages.  A holiday wasn't complete without all the maps that covered the journey and the destination.  For my first trip to France back in the '80s I got the full map of the country and large scale maps of the area I was to visit.  By the time it came to doing the journey, the maps were virtually worn out from all my studying.

There is one big problem with maps though – once published their information is cast in stone, or paper as it were.  Most of my old maps are useless now as of course motorways have been built and the entire landscape has changed. 

I reluctantly got myself a SatNav.  It has a couple of advantages over maps in that it tends to be more up to date and I don't have to stop every while to study it. 

Using a SatNav is easy enough if you apply a bit of logic.  Mine has a tendency to try to kill me from time to time, such as insisting I drive off bridges or head the wrong way down a one way street, but I got used to that and it frustrates the hell out of it when I refuse to obey its commands to the letter.  It also has a habit of trying to make me drive on narrow windey roads when the main road is obviously the better route but I got wise to that too.

The problem with the SatNav though is the updating.  I discovered one summer that I had forgotten to update it and was driving happily on a long stretch of motorway when the SatNav went into a right strop, insisting I was driving across fields and I was to get back on the road IMMEDIATELY.  Eventually I rejoined the road it was familiar with and it shut up, but it sulked for the rest of the holiday.

One irritating thing about updating the yoke is that the programme only works on Windoze, which as you may or may not know, I abhor and avoid at all costs.  So yesterday I fired up my ancient PC in the back room, loaded Windoze, waited for a couple of hours for it to update, download the latest SatNav updater and eventually plugged in the SatNav.

It told me the annual update was ready so I told it to go ahead and it started downloading, accompanied by dire warnings that if I interrupted it that it would kill all my firstborn and shoot a load of puppies.

That was at around three in the afternoon.

At bedtime, I checked progress.  It told me I had another three hours to wait, despite telling me at the offset that it would take about four hours.  It had been reporting its progress through the day and the time left constantly varied anywhere between two and eight hours.  I left it to it.

This morning I checked it again.  Only five hours to wait and the progress bar hadn't shifted an inch.  This is approximately twenty hours after I had started the process.  Fuck!

I decided that my firstborn would just have to suffer and that the puppies probably deserved it anyway, and I switched off.  My diagnosis was either that the PC hadn't enough memory or else it was trying to back up the entire Interweb which is something I didn't want.

I fired up the laptop Herself uses as it's a bit more powerful than the poor old PC.  I loaded Windoze, waited for a couple of hours for it to update, download the latest SatNav updater and eventually plugged in the SatNav.

It's updating at the moment.  It told me that it would take four hours again and again threatened my firstborn and the puppies so obviously it didn't carry out its first warning, which somewhat takes the sting out of its threats.  It tells me that I have to wait another 4 hours and 41 minutes.  Half an hour ago it was 2 hours and a few minutes before that it was 8 hours and 13 minutes.  An this is the device that is supposed to calculate my position to within a few feet?  Now it's saying 6 hours and 4 minutes.

I'll leave it to do its thing.  I'll probably check it again in a few days.

Herself is going to go ballistic without her Farcebook though……

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Navigating the Interwebs — 12 Comments

  1. Heh! I don't have, and have never had a sat-nav in the car purely because I've never really thought about it.

    But I share your enthusiasm for maps. I love them, even (especially?) the old, out of date ones. The Michelin maps are really the best though, aren't they? I've got stacks of them from the various bits of France I've been to / through. Such detail, and available in every petrol station there. Brilliant.

    Also, with maps you can get an overview, and pick your route to take in things that may interest you, which I imagine is not so easy with a sat-nav. You can spread it out on the table in front of you, and study the topography, the wooded areas, the winding mountain roads, the spot altitudes, the archeological sites, the national parks, the rivers, the lakes, the waterfalls. You can get a feel for the area you want to visit and pick your route and destination. Maps are wondrous things. When I bring up maps on the internet, they give me the basic info I need, but they don't offer the same intimacy that a large unfolded paper map does.

    • Maps unfortunately are losing out to technology with the advent of SatNavs and the likes of Google Earth.  That latter is an incredible tool but its "history" only dates back a few years and it doesn't show such details as footpaths and ther such details.  Maps also have the added advantage that their batteries rarely run down?

      One of my favourite websites for a drop of nostalgia –  It's handy for viewing back in time, such as plotting old railways and the like.  I'd like to see a SatNav or G-Earth do that?

  2. People think it strange, but I use an 8 inch tablet as a sat-nav. I love the bigger screen. Its an Android tablet so I don't have to update any maps, the app I use is Navmii, formerly known as FreeNav. It uses OpenStreetmap ( and refreshes your routes on demand. One little touch I like about it, is that it senses the ambient light from the front camera and automatically goes into night mode at dusk. Navmii has never sent me down the wrong road or tried to kill me.. yet.

    • Not strange at all.  I think the daughter uses her phone.  I tried installing Navmii on my phone but the damn thing won't download maps [it keeps saying I need 1.5 Gb of storage but won't load onto the card which has 32Gb].  Pity.  It looks interesting.  🙁

        • Meh!  Tried just about everything to change the default.  Went into File Manager and there are several options [Photos, Music etc] which can be changed but Download is greyed out.

          I can install the programme all right and provided I select a small country [e.g. Macedonia] it works fine, but if I try downloading UK & Ireland it whinges that I need more storage.  As I have no intention of moving to Macedonia, I'm stumped.

            • Not bad for less than half an hour's work GD! I'm more used to the screen layout of a Tomtom, having had one for years but the Navmii isn't that different. I think its better than the Tomtom in the sense that it updates automatically in minutes and IMO the Openstreetmap data is more reliable. And of course its free. I'm told that Google Maps is good too but never tried it in sat nav mode.

  3. Down here in the Sydney street directory every page has one phantom street. It's a street on the map which doesn't exist but if the map is copied without authorisation the company can prove it's their property by the simple act of pointing it out on the copy.

    I actually live in one of the streets, moved all my belongings into a house there but haven't been able to get home for years now.

    • Have you thought about using GE to find your way home?  Another method I find quite reliable is to get blind drunk, let "the Force" take over and just rely on homing instincts.

      Just think – no bills!

  4. I still prefer paper map and refuse the tiddlyfiddly Nav things, updating a map takes however long the cashier takes to ring you in. Well worth the money spent, and still cheaper than the Nav thing in the long run, mostly health wise since I almost blow a gasket with swearies when "updating" occurs.

    • The problem is in finding maps for the intended destination.  If I want to travel to an area in Cork for example, the local shops here are unlikely to carry a copy.  I actually bought a set of West Cork [my favourite destination after Wicklow] a couple of years ago and things don't tend to change much there!

      My SatNav eventually updated.  It took eight hours in the end.  With my Interweb connection that allows about 86Gb of download.  Where the fuck did it all go?

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