Where am I?
No, not me personally– I’m still right here. But The “Where am I?” function on GPS devices has been a cause of confusion lately, so we are here (right where the GPS says we are) to clear up this commonly confused function.
What it Isn’t
The “Where am I?” function is not the function that will find the nearest Restaurant or the nearest Starbucks. Those are POIs, Points of Interest. Most every auto GPS on the market today has that function.
So what is ‘Where am I?’
Simply put, it answers that very question– it tells you where you are right now. It doesn’t tell you where something else it, it tells you where you are. So why would you want this? In the case of an emergency you would likely want to tell emergency personnel or a tow truck where you are. Knowing your coordinates is nice, but this function tries to give your location in a more “readable” format for those without a GPS. For example it might say you are on “Main Street between Maple Avenue and Pine Road” or that the closest address to you is “1200 Spruce Terrace”.
GPS manufacturers have been talking up this feature over the past few months, and while it is convenient to have, GPS devices will almost always have a way to browse the map, center in, and zoom in on your position where you could find the same information yourself. The ‘Where am I?’ function simply automates that task for you, and places related functions (such as looking up the nearest hospital) in one convenient location. In an emergency, convenience is great to have, but I wouldn’t stress over a purchase of a GPS that doesn’t have this function as you can likely find the same information without it.
Update: One of our forum users posts a cautionary tale about the Where am I feature and offers this warning