Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I heard an ad on the radio this morning for a new service from OnStar: step-by-step directions. With the gaining popularity of GPS devices and now this new service, I wonder what happened to maps.

My dad tells a story of me reading a USGS 24K quad sheet (topography map) at age 3. I love maps, my college degree was in geography. I'm a visual-spatial person, I need to see where I am on a map and how it relates to everywhere else.

A couple springs ago we took a cruise out of Florida. The traffic getting down there was horrible, standstill traffic the whole length of Georgia. Checked the map and hopped over to the state route that parallels the Interstate. The state route was empty. What? don't people know this road is here? Not that I minded it being empty, but still, our van could not have been the only vehicle taking the alternate route.

It baffles me why the sudden need for a service to help you get somewhere, how did you get there before? Maps. Every utility/repair van had a map book of the metro area on the front dash. (Yay maps!)

I just can't get that lady's voice on the OnStar step-by-step directions commercial out of my head, "I use it all the time." Are there that many carto-illiterate people out there who need this service? Are people that lazy?

Do you use a GPS for directions everywhere you go? How do you feel about being dumber than a computer?

4 comments:

Jon said...

I'm like you. I HAVE to see a map and where things are, spacially. When someone starts giving me verbal directions, I zone out. Can't do it.
It's good to find a cartio-comrade!

jsdaughter said...

I'm with you too- would rather have a map every time.. Now that doesn't always mean I won't still get lost lol!
Here from Michele's today

YoLinna said...

I love maps and finding alternate routes is an obsession of mine--I hate 95 so we always map all kinds of bail outs but...
My parents have one of those GPS things. When you are older and the eyesight begins to go, it becomes harder and harder to see the maps. (I can attest to that!) The GPS is good for them when they are traveling in the city and have to make quick decisions and neither of them can really zero in without their glasses and magnifying glass...the GPS tells them right where to go. Plus, it's kinda fun to deliberately turn where it tells you not to and hear it start repeating "recalculating! recalculating!"

John said...

Most gps and online directions don't allow for the fact that a truck may not be allowed where the maps say you can go. So I never rely on them. When I was younger my sister and I used to look at maps and plan fantasy trips all over the country.