Why GPS Was Invented

Murray Pratt Blog, Trucking Leave a Comment

As every husband knows, we are imbued with a terrific sense of direction when driving, born as we are with an innate GPS system in our heads.

Now, if you drive around the Lower Mainland of British Columbia – Metro Vancouver –  a city of some 3 million people and growing at a tremendous rate, you also have some significant geographic markers that help you determine your location. Markers such as the North Shore Mountains, Stanley Park, our bridges, and the ocean for instance.

Metro Vancouver is comprised of a number of municipalities all connected in some way by roads, bridges and, in a couple of cases, by small ferries. As a local you would know this.

  • North Vancouver is east of the West Vancouver.
  • West Vancouver is north of the ‘West End of Vancouver’ and in turn
  • The ‘West End of Vancouver’ is north of ‘Westside Vancouver’ which in turn means
  • That the ‘Westside of Vancouver’ is south of the ‘West End’ and even further south of ‘West Vancouver’
  • ‘South  Vancouver’ is south of Vancouver and even further south of ‘West Vancouver’ and ‘North Vancouver’ which is still east of West Vancouver…..hasn’t moved yet.

The original GPS system was invented back in the 1950’s on the corner of Georgia and Burrard in downtown Vancouver (don’t ask me where that is, trust me, it’s pretty central). His name was Floyd.

Floyd was given to enjoy the odd bottle, and the even bottle (he didn’t discriminate), of Night Train and other high content wines.

It was rumoured that he had tried to draw a map of the suburbs of Vancouver, but realizing that the Guinness Family (yes, that Guinness family!) had decided to build a new suburb of Vancouver, called West Vancouver, he thought he would try some of their products as well. Again, he didn’t discriminate. He was also happy to see that they had built an iconic bridge across the Burrard Inlet to join the two communities by car. They named it the ‘Lions Gate Bridge’ after a mountain formation on the North Shore that looked like two lions.

For years, Floyd toiled on the street corner practicing ‘change management’ and giving directions to all sorts of drivers and tourists in the downtown core who became lost while driving. He would give them all sort of advice and directions, trying to get them to understand and assimilate the ‘wests’ and ‘norths’ and ‘souths’ he was sending them to – all for an honorarium of course.

So, it’s a little known fact that GPS systems were invented to help Floyd with his directional literacy. Because of the way the city evolved, it was virtually impossible for any driver in Vancouver, or in any city in North America for that matter, to figure out how all the highways and roads were connected. It was decided that with the advent of satellites, that Geo Positioning Systems using satellite technology could be of great assistance to all drivers, and especially to Floyd.

For trucking companies in North America, it meant that they could track their drivers and their equipment anywhere in North America. And for Floyd, it just meant less stress.

Floyd went onto to enjoy his retirement years later. Many nights he would lie down, on a lawn somewhere, using a bottle as a magnifying glass, watching the satellites fly overhead. He was comforted knowing that the fine citizens of Vancouver, and the fine folks in all cities and towns around our nation, were taken care of and knowing exactly where to go. He amazed that these directions could even be shouted at them from their smart phones while driving.

Floyd gained a sense of fulfillment now knowing that even the trucking industry now uses GPS systems, happy that they don’t have to go through the trials and tribulations that he had to go through in his life trying to figure out Vancouver. He is even happier that companies making trucking software now have GPS integrations that help them track and monitor their assets, and are able to produce reports that help them optimize their operations.

If you ever purchase trucking software, and want to integrate with a GPS system, just remember Floyd and the years he spent giving directions to drivers and truckers on the corner in downtown Vancouver.

As an owner, you may not want to buy trucking software & GPS technology for your drivers.

You may not even want to buy trucking software & GPS technology for your accountants.

But do it for Floyd. It will make you feel good.

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