Jul 282009

Capri is, of course, a pleasant island off the Italian coast, south west of Napoli, about which folk have sung irritating songs. Carpi is also Italian, and also pleasant, but it’s a long way from Capri. In fact it’s a few kilometres nor’ east of Bologna and well landbound. That didn’t stop a couple of Swedish tourists who, navigating their car to Capri, mistyped ‘Carpi’ into their in-car GPS navigation system.

They blindly followed their electronic navigation system, arrived in the village of Carpi without noticing that they weren’t on an island, and asked directions to Capri’s famous Blue Grotto.

MAC suffers ‘typo blindness’ so he has a certain sympathy but there’s a lesson in their fate. There were road signs along the way, and it was pretty self-evident that they weren’t on an island, and the GPS system was simply doing what it was told.

Electronic navigation equipment only does what it’s told. It’s somewhat dumber than an eight year old and it’s right at the end of your fingers.

In other cases football teams have been sent to the wrong location and trucks have driven to dead ends, literally – a Welsh crematorium -  and one driver was lucky to live when her savnav guided her into the path of a train.

In each case there was nothing wrong with the equipment. A mispelt town name sent tourists to the wrong village, out of date map data sent football teams to the wrong stadium, and missing data put a driver in the path of a train.

The lesson, for mariners, too is ‘Ensure brain is in gear before engaging satnav.


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