GPS routed bus under bridge, company says - seattlepi.com

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GPS routed bus under bridge, company says - seattlepi.com

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The driver of the bus carrying the Garfield High School girls softball team that hit a brick and concrete footbridge was using a GPS navigation system that routed the tall bus under the 9-foot bridge, the charter company's president said Thursday. Some models that offer routing for larger vehicles base directions on general information -- such as routes that are closed to buses -- rather than painstakingly collected data such as bridge heights, GPS experts say. A spokesman for Garmin Ltd., the manufacturer of the GPS unit used by Journey Lines, said an independent company that also supplies information to online mapping sites provides its underlying data. Bus routes typically steer drivers away from roads or turns where larger vehicles are not allowed, but don't take specific bridge heights into account, said Garmin spokesman Ted Gartner. Mark Hornung, senior vice president of operations for the manufacturer of CoPilot Truck, another GPS system for laptops and mobile devices that takes clearance heights into account, said some who buy cheaper generic systems wind up in tough spots.

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