I picked up GPS by Paul E. Ceruzzi because I thought it would be interesting to learn about the subject matter. My commendation to the author for managing to keep me interested enough over its 205 pages, where I understood hardly anything at all, yet not once did I fall asleep during my read (not even on the bus). I find it a miracle I got through this in only four days. It was a chore to get through the first 72 pages, wherein the author talked about early navigation systems. Not until one third of the book was over did we learn about the birth of GPS.

Ceruzzi implied that GPS technology makes maps obsolete. I do not rely on GPS for anything, so maps are what I turn to. I wouldn’t dismiss foldout maps so flippantly. One should also never rely solely on technology to get oneself to a destination. If you do not have a backup plan with a map or an atlas, you are just as lost as not having a phone number memorized should your cellphone power source fail you.

I did learn about satellite systems around the world (GPS is not a monopoly) and how they worked–in name only. The foreword states that this MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series aims to make its subject matter “accessible”, but that presumes the reader has a highly technological background. I just had to accept whatever the author was writing about GPS as I read along.

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