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Satellite Navigation a Real Crackpot! 230

debest writes "What happens when your satellite navigation system in your car gives you bad advice on which road you should take? In Britain, these systems have been directing drivers down a road near the (aptly named) town of Crackpot that is strewn with boulders and has an unprotected 100ft dropoff on one side! The locals are worried someone's going to go off the edge."
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Satellite Navigation a Real Crackpot!

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  • by demonbug ( 309515 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:28PM (#15081239) Journal
    1) Put up a sign reading "Don't go down this road, even if your GPS tells you to; Dangerous conditions ahead".

    2) Stabilize the slope above and install a guard rail.

    1) good idea - but they're going to also need to provide directions for an alternate route

    2) This sounds like a rather remote, extremely lightly travelled route - it may not be economically feasible to install a guard rail and "stabilize the slope" (which could cost tens of thousands or millions of dollars). Sounds like it is just a back-country dirt road that wasn't designed for through traffic.

  • by mzwaterski ( 802371 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:42PM (#15081321)
    I know my GPS sees road types because I can tell it to exclude some road types from a particular trip. For example, I can say: no highways, no dirt roads, etc...

    I have a Garmin Quest.

  • by cootuk ( 847498 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:51PM (#15081369)
    This is fairly local to me. This is out in the wilds where the decent A road takes the long way round. The problem seems to be that untarmaced roads are set to about 10mph average spped by default in a lot of routing software, and most people select 'fastest route'. Simply by setting untarmaced roads to 1mph you can avoid some of this silly routing. Plus using a bit of common sense.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:52PM (#15081377)
    Yes there is a reason - it's a rock-strewn farm track rather than a surfaced road and it isn't suitable for motor vehicles, and certainly isn't a through road. The error in question isn't the quality of the road or the lack of a guard rail, but the fact that the GPS systems are flagging it as a through route when it isn't.

    I've holidayed in the area regularly and once you go off the A (main) and B (narrow, usually single-lane) roads, you're on moorland, bogland and are pretty much on your own. While I can't be 100% sure whether I've been down the specific track they're talking about, I have mountain-biked down a few pretty hairy tracks near Crackpot that I know I wouldn't take a car down, specifically the ones that end in a drop, rather than have one at the side...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:00PM (#15081687)
    You never said a truer word - it's an appalingly bad road that I have the dubious pleasure of driving occassionally.... 96500&z=3&sv=crackpot&st=3&tl=Crackpot,+North+York shire+%5BCity/Town/Village%5D& f&mapp=newmap.srf []
  • Map (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ambient Sheep ( 458624 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:14PM (#15081746)
    Here's a map [] of the place. Check out those contour lines (in metres), and the chevrons on the roads, which indicate steep gradients (for those not versed in British OS map symbols).

    I guess it's that pale-white track on the bottom left, just below the "Summer Lodge [Farm]" that was mentioned in the article, in which case no GPS system should take you down one of those - white on British OS maps (as opposed to yellow) means no tarmac. And the dotted edges of the road indeed mean "unfenced". Lovely stuff. It's even debatable whether the narrow yellow roads on that map (which mean single-track with passing places) should be used by a GPS as through routes, let alone the white ones!

    Still, it reinforces the stupidity of the drivers, as there's obviously a point there, just past the farm, where the character of the road changes, and they blindly believe the GPS rather than turn back and let it find another route.

  • by Stuart Gibson ( 544632 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @04:15AM (#15082753) Homepage
    What did they expect, a list of all local crack joints with directions?

    In the UK, a crackpot is more traditionally someone who would be regarded as just past "eccentric". The woman with 86 cats in a one room apartment who yells at you out her window would be a "crackpot".

  • by cyclomedia ( 882859 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @05:21AM (#15082887) Homepage Journal &ll=54.346352,-2.046547&spn=0.251346,0.684586 []

    as you can see crackpot is somewhere between the yellow road and the red one, presumably its sending them across the gap instead of around because it's shorter even if the track is marked as 10mph, as that's a long way around
  • Re:Map (Score:2, Informative)

    by jd678 ( 577145 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @06:34AM (#15083009)
    white on British OS maps (as opposed to yellow) means no tarmac

    A common misconception, but no, it doesn't. White means unclassified. As in not a Motorway, A road, B road, or a C/D/U depending on local authority classification scheme. There's plenty of white roads with tarmac, try the Old Military Road in north Dartmoor for one, and unless you're on a majorish road, you'll probably find the street you live on is infact white. Is it tarmaced?

  • by ArsenneLupin ( 766289 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @08:16AM (#15083264)
    1) Put up a sign reading "Don't go down this road, even if your GPS tells you to; Dangerous conditions ahead".

    Actually there there is a sign []. And a five-bar gate:

    Many ignore a no through road sign and open a five-bar gate before trying to continue along a gravel track linking Swaledale and Wensleydale.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982