From the article:
"Danger has long stalked those who venture into California's desert in the heat of summer. But today, with more people pouring into the region, technology and tragedy are mixing in new and unexpected ways.
'It's what I'm beginning to call death by GPS,' said Death Valley wilderness coordinator Charlie Callagan. 'People are renting vehicles with GPS and they have no idea how it works and they are willing to trust the GPS to lead them into the middle of nowhere.'"
I've long advocated notifying the mapping company if you find a discrepancy in the GPS map. But that won't save you if you don't exercise some common sense. I never use "shortest route", by the way. I prefer "fastest route" which tends to use more major roads even if it is a longer route.