Travelers told Not To Rely Only On GPS

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Travelers told Not To Rely Only On GPS

Post by Treadmor on Fri May 13, 2011 8:26 pm

Travelers warned not to rely only on

By Laura Zuckerman Laura Zuckerman
Fri May 13,
SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) – Travelers in the western
U.S. should not rely solely on technology such as GPS for navigation,
authorities said, after a Canadian couple were lost in the Nevada
wilderness for 48 days.
Albert Chretien, 59, and his wife Rita Chretien, 56, sought a shorter
route between Boise, Idaho and Jackpot, Nevada during a road trip from
British Columbia to Las Vegas.
Rita Chretien drank water from a stream and rationed meager supplies
until hunters found her on Friday. Albert Chretien has been missing
since March 22, when he went to seek help.
The Chretians mapped the route on their hand-held GPS, an electronic
device tied to global satellites and commonly used for navigation.
Law enforcement and search and rescue officials said that too many
travelers are letting technology lull them into a false sense of
"There are times when you need to put the GPS down and look out the
window," said Howard Paul, veteran search and rescue official with the
Colorado Search and Rescue Board, the volunteer organization that
coordinates that state's missions.
Sheriff's offices in remote, high-elevation parts of Idaho, Nevada and
Wyoming report the past two years have brought a rise in the number of
GPS-guided travelers driving off marked and paved highways and into
The spike has prompted Death Valley National Park in California to
caution on its web site that "GPS navigation to sites to remote
locations like Death Valley are notoriously unreliable."
When two roads diverge in Western lands, take the one more traveled,
authorities said.
"You've got people driving into the middle of a field because a machine
showed a route that was shorter and quicker -- which it ultimately is
not," said Rob DeBree, undersheriff in Albany County in southeastern
Searching for travelers who veer off an interstate highway in a county
the size of Connecticut can be costly, time-consuming and dangerous for
rescuers, he said.
Jerry Colson, sheriff of neighboring Carbon County, issued a broad
appeal this winter to stay on paved roadways after several motorists
consulted GPS devices for shortcuts and plowed into snowdrifts on roads
to nowhere.
Authorities said such incidents show there is no substitute for common
"Your machine may tell you the quickest route but it might not take into
account there are impassable canyons between you and your destination,"
said Daryl Crandall, sheriff of Owyhee County in southwest Idaho.
Kevin McKinney, detective sergeant with the sheriff's office in Elko
County, Nevada that is heading up the search for Albert Chretien, said
motorists risk hardships on the patchwork of primitive roads in the
wilds of northern Nevada where technology is ineffective.
"This country is as rugged and as unforgiving as you can get," he said.


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