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A Business Traveler's Love-Hate Relationship with GPS GPS is innovative and useful for showing you the way. Until it steers you wrong.

By Bruce Schoenfeld

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

My father-in-law ran his own business for more than 40 years, roaming the Eastern Seaboard and beyond visiting candy companies. Back then, he could read a map as easily as a menu. But now he uses his GPS every time he gets in a car, even to get to the airport in his hometown. "I'm used to it," he says.

That's fine--until it doesn't work. On a recent overseas trip, my GPS led me through a tangle of dirt roads, each slightly less passable than the one before, until I ground to a halt in a field. I'd asked it for the shortest distance from here to there, and that's the route it was determined to take--without differentiating between a four-lane blacktop and a goat path. When I was in Seattle recently, my GPS must have needed a jolt of caffeine, because it couldn't catch up to where I was. Driving on Pike Street, I heard it urging me to turn left … onto Pike Street. By trying to follow it even as it was following me, I ended up miles out of my way and late for an important meeting.

Like with any technological device, you can have one of two relationships with your GPS. You can manage it, or it can manage you. Use it all the time, I've found, and not only do you never really know where you are, but eventually you lose the ability to figure that out. Still, I can't count the number of times it has saved me. Like when I'm running late and need to get gas before dropping off my rental car, or when I want a decent lunch within a mile of the interstate, or to navigate the thicket of one-way streets in an urban center. Best of all, when I make a wrong turn and get lost, it will get me back on track immediately and efficiently. And it doesn't pass judgment.

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