Tag Archive | "maps"

Maptastic Days Are Here Again


Somewhere in the bowels of your car there may be a symbol of the great days of real motoring. Hidden away, like the Dead Sea Scrolls, at the back of your boot or under the back seat you might well find – a dog-eared paper road atlas. Technophobes will be familiar with this archaic form of direction finding, often used with limited success by your dad. Technophiles will not understand this reliance on map reading skills when there is a perfectly adequate device on the dashboard to do the hard work for you.

The sat-nav, like sliced bread, has been one of the great inventions. They have never been cheaper or better featured. They are programmable and settings can be altered to suit. How can something so small be so clever? Well, that’s the official line, but there’s an unspoken issue. Your Editor, whilst being forced-marched on a health inducing walk high up on Barbury Castle in Wiltshire, came across a nonplussed German driver coming up an ancient track in an expensive car. Being a man, he blamed, in halting English, a ‘broken GPS’. Therein lies the problem.stuck Maptastic Days Are Here Again

The news is occasionally filled with giant lorries becoming trapped in villages because their device directed the driver down a country lane and they blindly obliged with the inevitable result. Sat-nav’s are great but they are not infallible. Neither are drivers. Especially not drivers. Despite the fact that the chosen route is clearly unsuitable they follow it anyway. Simply by turning round and forcing the device to ‘recalculate’ would probably solve the issue.

This is why more than half of the UK’s experienced drivers still prefer to use maps. Real map-reading is a disappearing skill (which should be taught in schools) but most motorists can understand a basic road map once they’ve got it the right way up. Older drivers with more than twenty five years of driving under their belts prefer to stick with maps. This is according to a recent national survey by a road rescue organisation.

As mentioned above they mistrust some of the information but what they hate most is the constant babble of instructions. The survey mentions that just forty five percent of respondents owned any form of sat-nav at all, whether portable or built-in. That’s a surprise. We are led by promotions and advertising to believe that the latest thing is indispensable to our lives and yet here we are still relying on ancient texts to move about the country.

Many people have no problem with sat-navs. If kept up to date they can guide drivers through complex and hitherto unknown one way systems; they can place a car within ten metres of the required destination whilst avoiding toll roads, ferries and traffic jams. What’s not to like?

On the other hand, it is quite nice to know that some things never change. Maps bring out the pioneer spirit in motorists. They can take married couples to distant lay-bys for spousal arguments about the innate inability of women to read maps, for example. It’s true. There is something special about a map and the more detail on it the better. Perhaps car makers would do well to heed this and start offering a full set of Landranger ordnance survey maps as an alternative option. It’s a thought.

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bG9nZ2VyX0xvZ28uanBnIjtpOjI7czo3MzoiaHR0cDovL21vdG9yYmxvZ2dlci5jby51ay93cC1jb250ZW50L3dvb191cGxvYWRzLzMtTW90b3JfQmxvZ2dlcl9Mb2dvLnBuZyI7fTwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX3ZpZGVvX2NhdGVnb3J5PC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gQXV0byBOZXdzPC9saT48L3VsPg==