2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: How Tall is Mount Everest In Yards?
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on September 23, 2015
You must be wondering what Mount Everest has to do with anything. And what's all this talk about yards? We measure mountains in feet, don't we?
Exactly, but the software engineers that stand behind our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI must have missed that memo. Behold the wonders of a navigation system that displays elevation in yards.
It isn't all bad news. At least the elevation is clearly displayed right on the map. I like that part. But yards?
And the math doesn't even work out. The 3,000-foot parking space shown above should correspond to 1,000 yards, not 912 yards. Every fifth grader knows that.
By the time I got home I had a thought. But they couldn't have done that, could they?
Here's a screen grab taken near my home: elevation 37 yards, map scale 300 yards.
Next I punched up the Setup menu and found the Units section. Under the Distance tab they offer a choice between miles and kilometers, which refers to the odometer and trip odometers. But it turns out these choices also toggle the navigation system between yards and meters.
So I changed the unit setting to kilometers to see what would happen.
Get a load of that. I was right. The exact same numbers appear. They're not even bothering to do any math. As far as the software guys are concerned, one yard equals one meter.
This explains the math error highlighted on the first picture. If I assume 912 meters instead and convert that to feet, I get 2,992, which is close enough to the 3,000-foot value on the elevation sign for me. But 912 meters does not equal 912 yards. It just doesn't. We need to see 997 yards.
But we shouldn't be seeing yards at all. It should be feet. But to display elevation in feet a mathematical conversion would be absolutely necessary. I guess they figured they could leave the numbers alone, change a little text and hope we don't notice.
I take back what I said about it being neat to see the elevation right there on the screen. This belongs under the heading: If You're Not Going To Do It Right, Don't Do It At All.
Incidentally, the frozen summit of Mount Everest stands 9,676 yards above sea level. But our GTI would undoubtedly display that as 8,848 yards, because that's how high Sir Edmund Hillary climbed in meters. I'll take a picture next time I drive up there.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 18,894 miles or 33,253,440 yards