Daily English
Cultural English
Practical English

1010 Using GPS When Driving

访问量:
Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 1,010 – Using GPS When Driving.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 1,010 – or we could say, “ten-ten.” My name is Dr. Jeff McQuillan. I’m coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Go to our website at ESLPod.com and download a Learning Guide for this episode. You can do that by becoming a member of ESL Podcast. This episode is a dialogue between Justin and Fay about using something called “GPS,” a navigation system, when you are driving. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Justin: Okay, we’re ready. Let’s get on the road.

Fay: Wait! We don’t know where we’re going. We’re strangers in a strange land. Where’s our guide?

Justin: We don’t need a guide. See this? It’s GPS and it’ll help us navigate to where we want to go.

Fay: I’m not sure it’s reliable. We’re in a pretty remote location.

Justin: Relax and let me explain how this works: GPS systems use satellites to locate your current location. Information is transmitted to this receiver, so it always knows exactly where we are. We input the address of our destination and presto! It gives us onscreen or voice directions.

Fay: I know how a GPS system works. I’m worried that there aren’t reliable maps to where we want to go. I read that many printed maps of this region are outdated and unreliable.

Justin: Don’t worry. This GPS is the state-of-the-art. I’m sure it’ll be accurate.

Fay: A fool with a tool is still a fool.

Justin: What did you say?

Fay: Nothing.

[end of dialogue]

Our dialogue begins with Justin saying to Fay, “Okay, we’re ready. Let’s get on the road.” “Let’s get on the road” means let’s get moving. Let’s get into the car and leave. Fay says, “Wait! We don’t know where we’re going. We’re strangers in a strange land.” A “stranger” is someone you don’t know. A stranger can also be someone from a different country or city or state who is visiting or who has moved to a new place and is unfamiliar with that place.

The phrase “stranger in a strange land” is familiar to some Americans because it was the title of a book written back in the early 1960s. In any case, we’re not talking about a book. We’re talking about Fay and Justin. Fay says to Justin, “Where’s our guide?” A “guide” (guide) is normally a person who leads a group of people on a tour or who helps someone get to the place where they want to go.

Justin says, “We don’t need a guide. See this?” He’s asking Fay to look at something he’s pointing to or holding. “See this? It’s GPS and it’ll help us navigate to where we want to go.” “GPS,” which stands for “Global Positioning System,” is an electronic device or part of an electronic device that helps you identify where you are right now and gives you directions about how to get somewhere you want to go.

Many cars now have GPS devices in them, so you can put the information about where you are going into this small computer, and it will tell you how to get to where you want to go from where you are now. Many smartphones have this feature. For example, my phone has a feature on it that I use as basically a GPS device. I open my map application and enter the address where I am going, and it will tell me how to get there.

Justin says that GPS will help them navigate to where they want to go. “To navigate” (navigate) means to figure out the best way to get to your destination, to the place where you’re going. If you are navigating in your car, you are deciding which route to take – which way to go in order to arrive at the place you want to go. Fay says, “I’m not sure it’s reliable.” Something that is “reliable” is something that is trustworthy, something that you can count on, something you can depend on.

Fay is not sure the GPS is something they can depend on. She says, “We’re in a pretty remote location.” “Remote” (remote) means far from areas where people live and work – to be a great distance from where most people are. If you are in the middle of the desert, you are in a remote location. You are not close to any city or town, or perhaps even other people.

Justin says, “Relax and let me explain how this works: GPS systems use satellites to locate your current location.” A “satellite” (satellite) is a machine that is located many miles above the earth, that goes around the earth and is used to communicate radio signals or other electronic signals from one part of the earth to another. Satellites are used for other things as well, of course.

A GPS satellite is used to help locate where a person is or a certain thing is. In the dialogue, the GPS satellites are used to locate your current location. “Current” means where you are right now. “Location” means where you are. So, your “current location” would be where you are right now as we are speaking. Justin continues, “Information is transmitted to this receiver so it always knows exactly where we are.”

“To transmit” (transmit) means to send – specifically, to send electronic information. A “receiver” is something that receives an electronic signal. Your television is a receiver. It receives electronic signals. It doesn’t send, typically, electronic signals – that would be called a “transmitter,” from the verb “to transmit.” A receiver receives the signals that are transmitted.

Justin says, “We input the address of our destination and presto! It gives us onscreen or voice directions.” “To input” (input) means to enter information into a machine such as a computer. Your “destination” (destination) is the place where you’re going. Justin says, “We input the address of our destination and presto!” “Presto” (presto) is an informal word used to announce that something has been done and is now finished, especially when it was done very quickly and easily, without a lot of work or effort.

Justin says if they put the address of their destination into the GPS computer, it will give them “onscreen or voice directions.” “Onscreen” means that it appears on a small electronic screen, sort of like what you have on your smartphone or your computer. “Voice directions” – voice directions are words spoken by the computer, the GPS computer, that tell you where you should go.

So, typically you would hear things like, “Turn left at the next intersection.” An “intersection” is a place where two roads or streets cross. Or the GPS system may say something like, “In two miles, turn right on Highway 25.” I think I should try to get a job as the voice of the GPS system. I think that would be kind of fun. They could record me, and then people could listen to me as they were driving, and I would tell them where to go. That would be a little weird, I think. But back to our dialogue . . .

Fay says, “I know how a GPS system works. I’m worried that there aren’t reliable maps to where we want to go.” Fay is saying that she understands the technology of GPS. She’s just worried that there aren’t good maps of the areas where they’re going to travel, and therefore the GPS system won’t be able to help them. She says, “I read that many printed maps of this region are outdated and unreliable.”

When something is “outdated” (outdated) – one word – we mean that it has old information that is no longer accurate, perhaps because things have changed. We also use the word “outdated” to describe something that is no longer fashionable or modern. We might talk about a certain style of clothing as being outdated, or certain ideas as being outdated.

Justin says, “Don’t worry. This GPS system is the state-of-the-art.” That expression, “state-of-the-art” (art), refers to the most modern, most current technology – something that is the latest in some particular technology or process. “State-of-the-art computers” would be computers that are new, that have the best and newest technology. Justin says, “I’m sure it’ll be accurate.” “To be accurate” means to have the correct information.

Fay says, “A fool with a tool is still a fool.” This is actually an expression that my sister taught me. “A fool with a tool is still a fool.” A “fool” (fool) is a stupid person, or a person who isn’t very intelligent. A “tool” (tool) is something you use to get something done. It’s an instrument.

The expression means that just because you have a tool – just because you have, in this case, technology – doesn’t mean that you aren’t stupid. You need to know how to use the technology. The technology doesn’t make you smart. You have to know how to use it. So, a fool with a tool is still a fool. The tool doesn’t take away, if you will, his stupidity. A machine doesn’t make you smart. If you’re not smart, having the machine won’t help. That’s the idea behind that expression.

Justin says, “What did you say?” Sometimes when we don’t hear what another person says to us, we may say, “What did you say?” If you say it in a certain way, however, you’re sort of implying that you heard what the person said and you weren’t very happy with what he or she said. The way Justin says, “What did you say?” implies that he understood what Fay said, and he understood that Fay was insulting him.

Fay, however, simply says, “Nothing,” meaning what I said to you isn’t a very important and I’m not going to say it again. I’m not going to repeat it for you.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Justin: Okay, we’re ready. Let’s get on the road.

Fay: Wait! We don’t know where we’re going. We’re strangers in a strange land. Where’s our guide?

Justin: We don’t need a guide. See this? It’s GPS and it’ll help us navigate to where we want to go.

Fay: I’m not sure it’s reliable. We’re in a pretty remote location.

Justin: Relax and let me explain how this works: GPS systems use satellites to locate your current location. Information is transmitted to this receiver, so it always knows exactly where we are. We input the address of our destination and presto! It gives us onscreen or voice directions.

Fay: I know how a GPS system works. I’m worried that there aren’t reliable maps to where we want to go. I read that many printed maps of this region are outdated and unreliable.

Justin: Don’t worry. This GPS is the state-of-the-art. I’m sure it’ll be accurate.

Fay: A fool with a tool is still a fool.

Justin: What did you say?

Fay: Nothing.

[end of dialogue]

Our scriptwriter is our guide to English. I speak, of course, of the wonderful Dr. Lucy Tse. Thank you, Lucy.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast was written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2014 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
guide – a leader; a person who takes a group of people to one or more places, providing information about them

* The guide said that this is the oldest building west of the Mississippi River.

GPS – global positioning system; a navigation system, or an electronic device that uses that system, that helps people identify where they are

* GPS devices are becoming so popular that I wonder whether anyone will know how to read a map in a few years.

to navigate – to know where one is and identify and follow a safe and efficient route to one’s destination

* The airplane will need to change course to navigate around the air turbulence.

remote – distant; far from areas where people live or work

* They own a farm in a remote part of Wyoming.

satellite – a manmade device that orbits (travels in a circle) around the Earth, sending communication and other information between two or more locations on the planet

* These high-tech phones use satellites to help people communicate in areas where cell phone networks don’t provide coverage.

current location – where one is right now

* The taxi drivers are supposed to call the office to report their current location every 20 minutes.

to transmit – to send, especially to send information electronically using machines

* This sensor transmits information about the patient’s heart rate and breathing to the display monitor.

receiver – a device that receives or gets communication from some other machine or signal

* If the television image isn’t clear, try placing the receiver in a more open area.

to input – to enter information into a machine; to provide data

* Couldn’t we ask the applicants to input their information directly on our website, rather than having us type up their handwritten applications?

destination – where one wants to go; the location one wants to reach

* Our flight has a layover in Dallas, Texas before we arrive at our ultimate destination, Boulder, Colorado.

presto – an informal phrase to announce that something has been done and is now finished, especially when it was done very quickly and easily

* Just sprinkle some cheese on the soup, slice some bread, and presto! Dinner is served.

onscreen – appearing on a visual electronic display on a television or computer monitor

* If the picture quality isn’t very good onscreen, it probably won’t look good as a printed photo either.

voice directions – words spoken by a computer, telling a driver where to turn and how far to go in order to arrive somewhere

* The voice directions are really easy to follow because the computer is always patient, even if I make a wrong turn.

outdated – with old information that is no longer accurate because something has changed; no longer fashionable, modern, or current

* Jim has an outdated haircut. He’ll have to change it if he wants to look more fashionable.

state-of-the-art – modern, using new technology and processes

* The company created a state-of-the-art gym for employees to use during their lunch break and after work hours.

accurate – with correct information; precise and exact; not wrong

* Are these meter readings accurate? They seem too high.

a fool with a tool is still a fool – a phrase used to mean that even the best tools are useless if the person using them does not have the knowledge or experience to use it properly

* These smart phones have more computer power than the smartest home computers from 20 years ago, but most people don’t know how to use them. A fool with a tool is still a fool.

Comprehension Questions
1. Which of these things would you be able to hear?
a) Receivers
b) Onscreen directions
c) Voice directions

2. What does Justin mean when he says, “This GPS is the state-of-the-art”?
a) This GPS has an artistic and pleasing design.
b) This GPS was designed and built in the United States.
c) This GPS uses the best technology available.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
receiver

The word “receiver,” in this podcast, means a device that receives or gets communication from some other machine or signal: “We’ve lost contact with the plane, but we aren’t sure if it’s a problem with the plane’s equipment or with the receiver at the control tower.” When talking about a traditional (not cellular) phone, a “receiver” is a handset, or the part of a phone that one picks up and puts next to one’s ear and mouth: “Don’t use that receiver because it always has a lot of static.” When talking about football, a “receiver” is a player who is positioned to catch a ball: “Wow! Did you see that receiver’s catch? It was unbelievable!”

fool

A “fool” is a silly or stupid person who does not think clearly. In this podcast, the phrase “a fool with a tool is still a fool” means that even the best tools are useless if the person using them does not have the knowledge or experience to use it properly: “Chuck bought a gourmet food processor, but he can’t even make hard-boiled eggs. A fool with a tool is still a fool.” The phrase “a fool and his money are soon parted” means that foolish people spend their money in wasteful ways, without thinking about it: “Who would pay $200 for that? A fool and his money are soon parted.” Finally, the phrase “to send (someone) on a fool’s errand” means to make someone do something that serves no purpose and is likely to be unsuccessful: “Jenna sent her husband on a fool’s errand to find sunflowers in November so that she could set up for his surprise birthday party.”

Culture Note
The Many Uses of GPS

GPS is a “dual-use technology,” which means that it can be used for “military” (the people and organizations that protect a country and pursue its interests with force) and “civilian” (not related to the military) uses. As discussed in this podcast, GPS is most often used for navigation. Most smart phones are “GPS-enabled” (able to use GPS) and can “produce” (create and display) maps and give directions based on the phone’s current position. And many new cars have GPS-based navigational devices on the “dashboard” (the display in front of a driver). The military also uses GPS for navigation.

People are “increasingly” (more and more over time) using GPS for “geofencing,” which is the use of GPS to “track” (observe and follow the movements of) people, pets, and vehicles. And “geotagging” is the practice of using GPS to mark exactly where a photograph was taken.

Scientists use GPS in many experiments because GPS can provide highly accurate “readings” (measurements) of “space” (where something is), movement, and time. For example, “astronomers” (people who study outer space and the movement of objects in space) use GPS data in their calculations, and engineers use GPS to help their “robots” (machines that perform human-like tasks) navigate and move. “Air traffic controllers” (people who tell airplanes when and how they can move) use GPS to “track” airplanes in the sky. And “surveyors” (people who mark boundaries between properties) and “mining companies” (companies that take valuable minerals out of the ground) “rely on” (need and use) GPS to know “precisely” (exactly) where they are.

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - c