Did you know, people who navigate using a paper map have deeper rooted knowledge of an area even before they’ve ever been there?
In this fast paced world people tend to think of paper maps as obsolete, ancient relics of the past that can’t provide any thing of value to our lives. Is the “let me just use GPS” mentality making us miss out on valuable life experiences?
Paper maps provide the difference between knowledge of a location and knowing a location. You can know about a subject but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have knowledge of the subject. Just like you can say
“I’ve been to downtown Reno before, I can give you directions”.
But what value do you contribute? The person who knows how to get there via GPS would give simple point A to point B directions.
“Go down 1st street and turn left on Virginia and your at the beginning of the downtown strip”.
It’s simple, it’s quick and it gets you to your location. It’s the GPS mentality of life. Sure you made it to your intended location. But what life experiences did you gain?
Someone with a deep rooted knowledge of the area would give more meaningful directions.
“Go down 1 street, while you’re there take a stop by Java Jungle the coffee is amazing. You can either stay parked here and walk to the strip. If you do, be sure to stop across the street to Ross Manner and have them show you Mark Twain’s signature on the roster. Or you can get back in your car and turn left on Virginia street. Parking can be a problem so let me tell you how to get to the parking garage.”
Now both sets of directions got you to your location but the 2nd set provided a much more rewarding experience. Paper maps can do the same. They require you to pre navigate you read the street names, notice the order in which they fall, and see how they relate to the bigger picture of the area. Thus cementing your route deeper in your brain. Then when you travel you have the ability to trust your inner knowledge of the area. Your brain makes sense of visual clues.
“Oh wait there is West Street, I remember seeing it on the map we are almost there”.
Then you notice how cute the West Street market is and decide to stop for lunch. Just by looking at the map you ended up having a much more rewarding experience.
Paper maps are far from irrelevant. They are tools to help us facilitate a richer and far more rewarding travel experience.