Published On: Fri, Oct 31st, 2014

Should You Ditch Your Paper Maps And Start Using GPS Navigation?

Once upon a time people did not rely on technology to show them how to get to an unfamiliar destination. They used maps that got printed on paper to help direct them to where they needed to go.

The downside about paper maps is that they are not up-to-date. Changes in road layouts, new roads and even the removal of existing roads won’t show up on traditional paper maps. It’s for those reasons that GPS navigation devices have surged in popularity.

GPS navigation devices

The focus of today’s topic is whether you should ditch  paper maps in favor of satellite navigation technology. Most people might say yes, but it’s not always that clear cut. Here’s why:

Map reading is a valuable skill

For centuries, people have used paper maps not just on land but at sea too. With most people using today’s GPS technology, map reading is a skill that is becoming rare with new generations.

We’ll soon get to a point where new generations will have no clue how to read a paper map, nor how to define distances that are at a certain scale. Let’s say that you had to scale a mountain in some remote area.

If your satellite navigation device stopped working, how would you know where to trek? A paper map could help you. But if you can’t read paper maps, it’s like trying to speak to someone that doesn’t understand your language!

Technology isn’t 100% reliable

What some folks don’t realize is that technology isn’t always reliable. Satellite navigation devices are a form of artificial intelligence. These gadgets can only do their job if they get programmed well.

Mapping companies cannot guarantee that their maps are error-free. For example, I once used a satellite navigation device to direct me to a destination in a city I’ve never been to before.

It told me to drive through one specific road during the journey. The trouble was; the road in question got replaced by a shopping mall! Situations like those can cause problems for drivers that have poor navigation skills.

For the sake of fairness, I will point out that paper maps can also cause the same problems (due to their age). But if you rely just on GPS gadgets to plot routes for you, it can spell disaster. Inchcape Toyota in Sandhurst also said most drivers neglect to update the maps on their devices regularly!

Map reading can be fun

As weird as it sounds, map reading can offer a form of entertainment! If you are going on a road trip somewhere, one person can be the “navigator” and direct the driver towards places of interest or even rest areas.

But if a satellite navigation device does the work, your navigator will become unemployed and have nothing to do on their journey with you! Just make sure the person you appoint as navigator in your car knows how to read a map!

I hope you have enjoyed reading today’s article. Hopefully, you won’t give up on your paper maps or map reading skills just yet!