When Technology is Ordinary

I still get excited about using a GPS in the field. Whether to record a waypoint or navigate to a point, I am still amazed that we can do this. I grew up using paper maps and a compass to navigate in the field. 

For those who have grown up when there was always GPS, it is only normal that they take it for granted. A few days ago, at the start of one of my forestry classes, I was quizzing the students on the UTM coordinate system. I asked if any of the students had used GPS over the summer. Two of the students did, but they never bothered to read the coordinates they were following. Instead they just followed the blue dots.  Someone else programmed the coordinates into their GPS receivers. 
Good practice calls for users to know what they are doing, what coordinates they are following. It’s good to have a system that is so reliable that we can take it for granted. Yet it is not that good yet, even if it seems so.
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