Well, as most (or at least i think most) of you know, I live in Dublin, Ireland. I have been looking for a good mapping suite for Sat Nav (as i have the very broken sense of direction and always get lost…). The only place i seem to have found with good Geo Data for Ireland (100% clamed on their site) is Route 66. I am looking at picking one of their new Chicago all in one units in November, and onces its live, i will actually bite the bullit and buy it. But there are some questions.

Firstly, why does Ireland have such bad GPS coverage? Well, its not GPS coverage thats the problem, but mapping data is. The Ordnance Survay guys have maps of everywhere, and im sure its digital, so why the lack of good mapping data?

Secondly: Mapping sites. Windows Live Local, Google Maps, Yahoo Local Maps, etc, all cant get the data about Ireland. If i go to Windows Live Local, zoom in to my house, and say i want directions from here to the nearest coffee shop, i get directions to somewhere in Belfast, about 150 miles away! and here is me thinking the nearest coffee shop is only about a mile or 2 away… This is going to be a big issue for a lot of people. I think the main issue with it is geotagging addresses. In the UK, your postal code means a lot. people can work out how far away you are from them just by giving them a post code. In Dublin its pretty meaningless. Take where i live for example, Tallaght. Tallaght, and to an extent City West, both have the same post code, D24. The problem with that is D24 covers somewhere in the region of maybe 40 – 50 thousand houses (Tallaght, the last time i checked, had roughly 120,000 people in it). the problem with that is its not exactly usefull. I have seen sat nav systems in the UK where you type in the postal code, and they can tell you a list of 1 or 2 streets you should be going to. Thats what i want!

3: Traffic info. Again, checking the Route 66 device, one of the extras is TMC (Traffic Mesaging Channel, or at least i think thats what it is). This is running is pretty much EVERY country in europe, EXCEPT Ireland. this i find stupid. There is a radio station that, at rush hour (which, in Dublin lasts from 6.30am to about 10am and from 4.30pm to 7pm and sometimes longer at both times…)  only gives traffic news. so, my next question, why not make it digital and set up a TMC system? why is Dublin years behind everyone else on this?

I know a lot of people are trying to get drivers out of their cars and into public transport (dont even get me started on that…) but this is not an option for a lot of people. If i get a bus to work, it takes me an hour and a half to get in, and then theres the 20 min walk to the building i work in (not complaing about the walking, but if its raining, its not fun). If i jump into my car and drive, im in work 15min later, and no walking in rain. Im not waiting for a bus, not hoping to get a seat, and its direct.

To tell you the truth, after writing this, i dont know what the point is. Im just ranting on about the lack of usefull stuff here. I know i can go out and buy normal GPS gear, and get nav for Dublin, but what about the rest of the country? I seen one that had about 6 towns and Dublin listed, which “75% of major roads listed”. The problem is whats classed as a major road to them? Is an N road (National road, not quite a Dual Carage way in some cases, though they can be N roads too, but just below a motorway) a Major Road, or are they missing too? what about R Roads? (Regional roads, usually linking N and M (motorways) to each other, or going though towns etc). Right, enough of a rant for today. Sorry to “rant on” on your Sunday morning!