James Kim - GPS and the Irony of His Death

cnet memoriam to James Kim

I have nothing to add to the tragic story other than to note that James had reviewed more than a dozen GPS portable systems, any one of which ironically might have saved his life if he had one with him that day.

Click on photo above for link to CNET with a video memoriam to James.


But some are reporting that it might have been questionable directions given by online mapping services that might have contributed to the death of James Kim:

theage.com.au, Online map linked to fatal turn

When using the Yahoo Maps, MapQuest and Google Maps online services to plot directions from Grants Pass to Gold Beach, Yahoo and MapQuest both recommend taking the same, safer highway route, while Google suggests a shortcut through roads that become dangerous in winter.

Another news story says a vandal opened the gate:

CBS News, Cops: Kims Stuck On Road Opened By Vandals

Authorities in Oregon say the road that James Kim and his family were on when they got stranded is normally blocked by a locked gate during the cold-weather months.

But they say a vandal had cut the lock, leaving the road accessible.

The family was stranded for more than week with little food after driving for 15 miles past the gate.

NY Times, Lost, Even in the Age of High Technology

James Kim and family became stranded in rural Oregon
James Kim’s father hired private helicopters to search. The authorities used heat-sensing equipment and traced pings to nearby cellphone towers. Mr. Kim marked his trail with clothes and other clues.

Yet nearly two weeks after he and his family vanished in the Klamath Mountains in southwest Oregon, Mr. Kim was lost forever. His body was found Wednesday in a creek bed where he had succumbed to hypothermia after walking miles to seek help.

Two days earlier, after he had set out alone, rescuers found his wife and two children safe in their Saab station wagon.

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