Satnav Features

There’s a number of features of a satnav that seem really obvious, yet many or most don’t have them. This is another conversation I keep having, so here’s my list. If you’re building a satnav, please steal these ideas!

A satnav directing to 'paradise ahead'

Rest-stop preferences

Let’s say you’re travelling to Edinburgh from Frome and your fuel and comfort ranges are 200 miles and two hours respectively. You like Costa Coffee and want to have lunch at a gastropub with vegetarian options.

My satnav could know these things about me (comfort range, coffee and lunch preferences) and plan the whole route for me, without my having to research lunch stops near plausible routes.

Near-home silence

I almost never need satnav navigation within around 5 miles of my house; it’d be great for it to be able to automatically silence its guidance (though keep showing information on the screen) for this bit, where I frequently am not doing exactly what the satnav thinks in any case.

Awareness of junction layout

When my satnav tells me I have to take the third exit at the roundabout in twelve miles I don’t need to think about it until I see a roundabout coming, at which point I can look down, see which exit, and take it.

When it tells me I have to turn left in twelve miles, I could approach it in the same way as the roundabout if I knew it were a T-junction.

I’d like my satnav to distinguish between junctions that I will see coming, and those that I need to keep an eye out for.

Warning of speed limit changes

It’s very normal for a satnav to warn when there’s an upcoming speed camera, and also to warn when I’m exceeding the speed limit. It feels like an obvious and constructive addition is for it to be able to warn when the speed limit is about to change, too. Apparently some Garmins can do this.

“Follow signs to Penzance”

When a human is giving directions, often we’ll think in terms of which signs to follow. The visual display of many satnavs hints at what to look for on the sign, but for some reason the voice directions don’t, and instead they say things like “Take the fourth exit onto the ay one thousand two hundred and forty one”. If there’s a big town up that road, why not mention it?