All fails and other fallacies


I notice quite a bit of criticism being leveled at the hiking app world at the moment. I believe that this is misguided for a few reasons. Singling out one app over any other seems shortsighted.

I WAS STATIONARY AT THE TIME OF THE WEIRD GPS ACTIVITY. THIS DATA NEEDS INTERPRETATION RATHER than TO BE DISCARDED.


Aps like a GPS or a map and compass (or even a guidebook) are tools. They all require interpretation. For those of us who have read lines like “turn left at the heard of horses’ (yes that actually went to print) or ’20m left of the Hottentot Cherry Tree’ or ‘left of the obvious break’ it is pretty obvious that this requires interpretation. So with modern technology like apps.

For example map reading consistently seems to be a weak area for outdoors people including guides. Myself included. Rather than blame the maps, or compass or gravitational pull… We should learn to interpret the data. So the fault lies squarely with the user.
Sure there are better quality maps and similarly better and worse navigational apps. But relying solely on one set of data is folly. Imagine our surprise when at the crucial left turn there was in fact a ‘heard of horses’!

It’s like handing over responsibility to somebody else or worse an inanimate object. Responsibility for my happiness, responsibility for my and others’ safety. That seems weird to me.

Let’s take responsibility for ourselves and not put blame elsewhere. App developers, like guide book authors do their best to create a quality product. But there is not a guidebook (or app) out there that is perfect. Trust me. I still remember the feeling of my heart sinking upon opening ‘The Ledge’ for the first time only to discover errors that I would not have believed possible moments ago.

full disclosure: I have no affiliation to any app, GPS or electronic na

One thought on “All fails and other fallacies

  1. Hi Leo, well said!
    This stands for avid outdoorsmen and women… where it gets tricky is when unsuspecting ‘casual recreationalists’ are lured into more advanced activities by the presence of this part-information.
    A bit like me at the beach and not being able to identify a rip-tide when I was 10 years old: A rookie error for the seafaring crowd, but I didn’t know, so I didn’t know.

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