Using #GIS skills at the #auto #body shop


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Inspired by the one of the CBC Marketplace episodes (if you don’t know CBC stands for Canadian Broadcasting Company that we Canucks watch while we stay warm in our igloos drinking moonshine and eating maple syrup candy — okay the later part a gross exaggerations).   Back to what I was saying, I was inspired by CBC Marketplace and my rough and tough run ins with auto shops and tow trucks.  If you ever got in an auto accident (whether your at fault, not at fault, or just really in the wrong place and wrong time), IT SUCKS.

In this blog entry, let me share with you one way to use your GIS knowledge perhaps to save you the cost of an auto repair or simply to open a real bad can of worms for someone.  Just skip the next paragraph if you don’t care why I’m writing this post (I’m not offended just a passion-driven GIS nerd, that somehow likes to share different GIS related fun).

[Just a full Disclaimer: I have no bias for auto body shops and tow truck driver, just a bucket full of bad experience.  So bad that I now change my own oil, change my own fluids, change my own tire (rotate and balance), top off my own windshield fluid even though I’m not a man…. But if the Ontario auto body shops and tow truck driver have improved customer service, I will gladly rave about my experience too…]

Reflecting on the recent 2015, I also had to go into the dealership in Toronto (first shaking traffic) because the sales person did not properly deliver on the sales contract.  I had the opportunity to witness two hit and runs in parking lot, I had a someone I know have a hit and run in the parking lot while they kindly dropped me off at the grocer (only to run in and yell at me “come out someone hit me and I don’t know where my cell phone is!”).  And that’s not the worst part.  The worst part is dealing with the insurance, who sends you to a shop to get an estimate, where you somehow manage to sign a work authorization when you weren’t really sure you wanted to take it to the specific shop and then you realize.  Then you look at your odometer and somehow 50km is clocked in and you wonder where they drove your vehicle to do the repair (that’s the circle thing if you have a car from this decade with the numbers that go up as you drive…if you have a newer car, its probably a digital read out, click here if you want to know how an odometer looks like).  The next worst part is dealing with sub-standard repairs and realizing you need a paint job touch up because its peeling (…no wonder they had lifetime warranty on the repair).   Then the frustration sets in, and you realize, 1) you should have called them out on the odometer reading high, 2) you should have went to a different shop,  and 3) you should not have paid them, but its too late to act.  BUT WAIT!  You probably can if you try out my GIS themed tip!

So while you were celebrating New Years of 2016, I was being a loyal nerd and uploading my video that I captured on the road in Verner, Ontario (google it if you want, its what we call Northern Ontario).  I demonstrated how to use My Tracks for Android.  If you read my entry on Capture Your Tracks on Android, you had a stimulating step by step method of how to use the tool.  If you don’t like being pointed to a link, I’ve posted the video below (part 1 and 2).

This will help you with your auto shop woes and tow truck woes because the next time you get in a collision and a tow truck company eagerly offers you a drive, you (the GIS expert self-proclaimed expert from watching my videos) will turn on your My Tracks application and press record (watch my video if you have no idea what I’m saying).  And record this travel and advising the driver where you want to go …which is to your preferred shop or the police collision center or your house.  So now, if the driver doesn’t take you to your desired location, then you can upload your tracks on your computer and show it on Google Earth and tell the insurance company…see, they didn’t listen to me and their shop isn’t even close than the police station.

Here is some fun stealthy things you can do.  If you take your car to a shop for servicing, tuck your device in your car (I won’t suggest ideas…use your creativity).  Run My Tracks and leave your car.  If you car had a lot of kilometers clocked (or miles for you Americans), perhaps ask why.  They may say they drove it around the block to test it.  Look at your Tracks on Google Earth, show the time stamp and ask why your vehicle was …driven to McDonald’s (you may need data or hunt for WIFI!).

Let me just drop one more comment, this tool isn’t too bad for leaving in your vehicle if your roommate asks to borrow your car.  Your son or daughter borrowing it to go to a friend’s house to study (and somehow drives at an insane hour to a sketchy place of town for a house party).  Just some fun ideas.  That being said, if you Track anything cool, I invite you to upload it and share it on YouTube.  If you want to share something cool with this tool in a video or a screenshot, tweet me.  I promise I’ll thumbs up your video for being a really cool GIS nerd.  All I ask is DO NOT play your device while driving.  It’s dangerous people.

I’ll catch you in the next video.  Below are those My Tracks videos, Part 1 and 2.  Don’t forget to LIKE the videos (if you thought it was cool of coursr)! Cheers!