Do Maps Still Matter? The GPS vs. Map Debate

iPhone GPSMore so than ever before, people are using GPS devices to navigate the world around them. Few youngsters these days would even know how to navigate by map, when their phones can create a route from point A to point B in a matter of seconds. So one might ask; is there even a need for maps anymore?

Well, maybe so. “The GPS on your phone will solve one problem at a time, but it cheats you out of a real sense of orientation,” said Robert Dahn, a licensed surveyor on WNPR News. “If you have them, you’ll understand where you are and where you’re going. If you don’t, not so much.”

That real sense of orientation that you get from a map is genuine. With a map, not only do you see an entire space laid out at once, but if you’re traveling, you have to plot your own route through it. This planning process makes you much more likely to remember the general geography of an area, something the latest generation of young adults tend to lack.

Of course, maps will probably always matter to surveyors, who depend on them for tieing into old surveys, finding property-line evidence, and computations. And perhaps because of this, most surveyors would be qualified to be a taxi driver with their innate sense of local geography.

Some also argue that maps create spontinuity; that picking a route that isn’t necessarily the “ideal” route may lead one to destinations they didn’t even consider, but enjoy. Others would say that using maps for driving, for example, requires teamwork between the passenger(s) and driver to navigate.

It is however undeniable that the relief from the stress of having to find your way through a series of complicated intersections is an amazing service a GPS navigation system provides. Even so, GPS isn’t perfect. Say you’re driving along and the bridge up ahead is closed. Instead, a ferrie is being run accross the lake to another road. This can throw off a GPS system off to the point where it’s useless, and all of a sudden, you find yourself in need of a map.

Regardless, maps certainly won’t be going away anytime soon!

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