Sendero Group Travel Blog

Follow Sendero travelers on their adventures using accessible GPS.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

 

Hola de Espana

Because the BrailleNote English synthesizer clobbers the Spanish street names, I have relied less on automatic route following and more on the old fashioned getting warmer method here in Madrid. This has worked pretty well as there seem to be a labyrinth of streets that eventually connect with another street going in the direction you desire.


I am very impressed how well the Holux is picking up satellites among these tall buildings, very close together, with a very poor view of the sky. The down side of this is that there is a lot of multiple path as the weak signals bounce around among the buildings. This means I am getting a position fix but my heading is not at all reliable.


No worries, I just focus on a decreasing destination distance. So, even if I hear that my destination is at 9 o'clock one second and 5 o'clock the next, I am paying attention to the distance to my destination getting less. This is what matters. Eventually the heading straightens out but I don't count on it. If the destination distance is decreasing, all is well.


In this fashion, I have found my way to numerous restaurants, museums and back to my hotel without ever asking for help. My Spanish is mediocre and still if I do ask for help, it is like sighted people anywhere, they don't give very good directions. So, I might as well not ask.


I did get a little worried tonight when my battery announced it was at a critical low level and I was among the maize of small streets in central Madrid. I realized that the power to the plug in my hotel room last night must have been turned off. Having used the BrailleNote PK for a good 10 plus hours yesterday and again today, I was close to losing power. I kept switching it off until I really needed it and managed to make it back without having to resort to a cab or questionable sighted help.


Remember, when traveling in an urban canyon or when first learning the GPS program, the one thing you want to pay attention to is the decreasing destination distance.


Mike

the view from Mike's hotel, Barcelona Universal, in Barcelona Spain

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