Google Maps – Map onward – to – return

This blog stems due to many reasons: I have started driving , Metro rail construction in Bangalore, one of my best friends stays close by and finally the fact that we have become slaves of technology.

So the friend I am talking about, stays at a distance of 9-10-11 km from my place, depending on which route you follow in google maps. The routes are through narrow lanes and alleys. There is a main road as well, but I usually avoid the same, to avoid traffic and get lost. Because, when I take that route, google wants me to follow a route I am not aware of. All these are my experiences, while going to her place – the onward journey, during which I always underestimate, start overthinking and am invariably late . But at least I know where I am.

The tricky part is the return journey. When I plot the destination which 99.9% of the times, is my home, the curves on the map look very similar to my onward journey. When I zoom in , the places look familiar. Exactly at that moment I would forget the name of the apartment complex at the corner or the nursery I should be crossing, but just one familiar word and I am good.

I start, and then its a mess.

Last time, after a lot of twists and turns, google landed me on main road. Please note, this was not part of initial plan. I backed out a bit and started following a truck, only to realize it was for metro construction and didn’t have a destination like I do. It was pitch dark and nowhere to go, I started following an SUV, switched on my parking lights and zoomed on a one-way in reverse. It was scary and illegal.

This time, confident that google is not going to repeat the same mistake, I started following the visual instructions. In no time I was lost, only to be rudely stopped by a man who kept on insisting me to take a reverse. Finally, a good Samaritan came to my rescue, showed a newly erected one way board which you would miss if your eyes are glued to your mobile phone and helped me switch to the rerouted route.

Surprise, I was on the main road again. Determined not to repeat the same mistake as last time, I took to main road, not knowing if I could take a U turn or need to drive another 20 KM before I go back. Google showed a U turn in 1 km and I kept left. There was none. Suddenly the indicator of the car in front started blinking and I realized I could finally take the turn I had been waiting for.

I took the U turn drove at 60, felt I need to slow down because people crossing in the dark won’t know of my plight, jumped a hump , my phone fell down and I was left at the mercy of my memory to drive the remaining lag. Thankfully, this was a road well known and I finally reached home in an hour for a journey which would have otherwise taken 30 min.

I kept on thinking for a technological solution to avoid this and realized that if google had a way to save my onward journey and let me choose the same route during return, things would be so simpler.

I understand there might be several bottlenecks which google doesn’t like , as for e.g. heavy traffic, but I can live with it as far I know where I am.

Another solution could be to add stops in between to ensure you take the route you know. The prerequisite is that you should remember the name of the apartment complex, school, petrol bunk and nursery to ensure you are plotting the right path.

Technology is good and an innovation like Google Maps is definitely here to make our lives easy. All said and done, you need to exercise your brain at the end if you want the best of both worlds.

So, never let it go dull.

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