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GPS – The Ultimate Moving Tool


Over the past 16 months I’ve had the displeasure of moving three times. Everyone knows how stressful moving is, but even I didn’t realize just how much stress could be avoided just by having a GPS device along with me for the move. (Okay, I had about five GPS devices with me at the time, but you really only need one. :)) Here is why a GPS is the ultimate moving tool.

House Hunting

Part of every move is finding a new place to live. Time to hit the papers, classifieds, and real estate companies. After narrowing down the list of choices to a dozen or so locations it was time to get a feel for the area… without actually being there. I entered each of the locations into my GPS as favorites and viewed them all on the map. From this I could learn tons of information.

  • Does the address look like a residential neighborhood (identified by a lack of nearby POIs) or does it look to be in the middle of sprawl?
  • How far away are nearby services like grocery stores?
  • Are there schools nearby?
  • What is that POI? A prison? Might want to stay away from that area.

Just from the GPS I could get a sense of the neighborhood and further narrow down our list of housing choices.

Obviously the GPS came in handy when going to look at those locations. After making appointments to view certain places I changed the name of the favorites and prefixed them with the time of the appointment so we wouldn’t forget. I then created a route using each of the appointments as waypoints (vias) in the route to get a sense of the total time it would take to see all of the locations. After visiting a particular location we would give it a one to five rating. Then we removed the time of the appointment from the name of the favorite and replaced it with the rating we gave that location.

Of course having easy directions to each of the locations was extremely helpful. Since we were letting the GPS navigate, we could better focus on checking out the area while enroute rather than trying to figure out where we were going. As we made appointments people would constantly try to give us directions. “Okay take the forth right after the house with the big porch then about a mile or two up the road look for the house with the garage on the right.” ummm… yea, just give us the street address and we’ll find it just fine. I can’t imagine trying to do that the old way, writing down directions for each of the locations.

Avoiding Highways with the Big Truck

Then it came time for the actual move. We got the U-Haul packed up and it was time to hit the road. I wasn’t too comfortable driving such a big truck and didn’t feel at all comfortable driving it at highway speeds. So using the GPS I had it create a route to my new home and told it to avoid highways. While the route took a few minutes longer, I felt more comfortable at 55mph then I would have at 75mph.

Finding Services

Arriving at our new home we frequently needed to find new POIs in our new town. Where are the closest banks? Where are the grocery stores? Where is the post office? We need some home furnishings, where are the furniture stores? All of these things we were able to quickly find with the GPS and efficiently get us to where we needed to go.

Learning the town via Geocaches

Perhaps one of the best ways to learn the ins and outs of the new town was spending a good amount of time geocaching throughout the town. In the first week I found about thirty geocaches in the area. In the process I learned my way around the town much better. I found quite a few great areas to do some snowshoeing, found some good lakes to go kayaking in this Summer, and really “got my bearings” in the new town. This was really a great way to discover a new town.

While moving will always be stressful, having GPS devices along the way took many of the ordinary pains out of the process.

2 Responses

  1. I found this pretty interesting. I’m going to purchase my first GPS specifically because I’m moving from OH to NC and have no idea where I’m going. I’ll definitely put your ideas to work.

    Patrick S. - March 7th, 2007
  2. Glad you found it interesting, Patrick. I think you will find having a GPS is a great tool for exploring new cities.

    Tim - March 7th, 2007

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