My own experience is that we got a car with a GPS in it about 2 years ago. It was my wife's car but in the course of several trips, we found it useful - so, I bought one for my truck (and to use in rental cars) before a long trip to an address I didn't know. I also activated the Navigator option on my Blackberry.
These devices have fundamentally changed how we travel. Very seldom do we ask for directions anymore. Very seldom do we use Google, Mapquest or other services to print out maps in advance. No longer do we assume the stressful roles of pilot and navigator when seeking out a new place. Generally, we just plug in the address and follow directions.
They are not perfect tools (yet):
- sometimes they can't find the address - but, between the 3 devices and some finesse and logic, we can generally get close enough
- occasionally they take you on weird detours (like take an off ramp to just get right back on the same highway) - but, if you use them as a guidance tool and have a little sense of adventure and fun, it's just part of the trip and you realize you don't have to take every turn they recommend
- sometimes I'd prefer another route - but, these are tools, not task drivers so I detour when I want and resume guidance when it's useful
- occasionally, these devices just seem to be flat lost; probably errant data in the map database or a software glitch - but, as compared to how much time we've spent lost in the past, the over-all time savings are incredible
- I have the distinct feeling in my life today that I am guided - that my next turn is clearly indicated but that I don't know what the over-all route is (or even what's at the "destination"). My responsibility is to follow directions and make an effort.
- Sometimes, I can take a detour - there will be consequences (great or small, good or bad) but that doesn't mean that I'm damned to never returning to the route or guidance that is available to me.
- Sometimes I'm still lost, but I think it's likely that the fault as to why I wind up where I am is a consequence of my not following direction than it not being available to me.
- As the same roads get more familiar, I need the guidance less and less but there is always some road that will be new in the future where I will again have to trust those turn-by-turn directions.
- If I do take a detour or turn in the opposite direction, there are always directions to get back to the path that I was headed on...