For many years I was a devout fan of the trusted TomTom. Just remember this was in the late 1990s when SatNav was a completely new product range and smartphones did not truly exist in their current form. When I went over to Germany for our lads weekend to the Nurburgring, we spent a good hour downloading and installing TomTom software to our primitive Nokia phones for the journey. Little did we know how things would change two years later.
[Image courtesy of Victor Svensson]
Due to my history of epic commutes, I have to rely on navigation software and have been using Google Maps for over a decade. I was converted when they began to include accurate live traffic information in their route planning.
Colleagues had suggested Waze. I finally took the plunge when I upgraded from my three year old SIII to a fresh new SVII. Obviously I am talking about my work mobile, my personal mobile upgrade is not due until the middle of next month.
Waze takes the concept of navigation and adds in the crowd sourced feedback of the community. Users report traffic, roadworks, even cars broken down on the side of the motorway. The result is accurate travel times but beyond this I can share my ETA with friends and family. They are given full details of my journey and then notified when I am close to the destination. I never thought I would convert from Google Maps. The only piece missing is not providing navigation if you are on foot, bike or public transport but as a tool for drivers this is invaluable. The tool has a points system, so the more you use it the more kudos you obtain but by adding notifications on roadworks, traffic, cameras and even police patrols you earn further points. The ‘gamification’ of every aspect of our lives has well and truly begun.
As I tend to leave home early to get to the office between 7am – 7:30am most mornings I take the back roads and have started to learn some of the shortcuts to get back to Binfield. One in particular is named Drift Road. There are multiple ways for me to travel back home from work. Via Windsor, via Maidenhead, via Taplow to name just three. This bought back memories of my former colleague AS, whom lived just outside Reading but knew all the back roads around Maidenhead having lived there for many years. Maybe this is just another phase in me getting older.