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Using GPS instead of maps is the most consequential exchange of technologies in history

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posted on May, 4 2019 @ 01:57 PM
I came across this article exposing a truth that I have long held. We are losing the ability to use maps. This man has way more experience with maps and 'orienteering' than I and has a lot to say on the subject.

I remember when any news story would have a corresponding map so you knew where the story was taking place. Few, almost no US, news outlets post maps anymore. Many people talk about places in the news without any idea of where they are located.

I hope you like the article, I did and will think about it.

A sample....

All that stuff is a pain in the ass, but the disappearance of maps that GPS is forcing on us really concerns me.

Have you tried to find a map lately?

Don’t bother stopping at your local Shell, because gas stations don’t sell them anymore. Borders Books used to have shelves of maps in the travel section. Paris! Berlin! Rome!

Every time I would leave on a trip as a journalist, I’d stop by the Borders or Waldenbooks and pick up maps of the states, or countries I was headed for, and city maps, too. I remembered the time I took off from JFK to cover a Dylan and the Band concert in L.A., only to land and rent a car and not have a clue where I was or where I was going. Never again. I had two or three bookshelves in my study at home that held nothing but maps. I could have given you directions to get thick Turkish coffee in the souk in #ing Baalbek, Lebanon if that’s where you wanted to go.

I collect maps too.

It's a glaring example of the skills, necessary skills, we are losing as a society to technology.

posted on May, 4 2019 @ 02:06 PM
a reply to: FyreByrd

I have noticed that maps are disappearing. I have old maps of Canada and a few of the US, a lot of topographical maps of Ontario (I fished a lot), MNR maps to know what fish were stocked where and maps of subsahara africa, since I was involved down there with the military/ci in national security infrastructure, r&d and weapon deployment. I like maps, I like the physical feel of them. Never use them though when I am out searching for trout streams or have to do a 3000 mile road trip. Funny thing, sun in the sky, watch on your arm, shadows on the ground and moss on trees :-)

Cheers - Dave

posted on May, 4 2019 @ 02:23 PM
a reply to: FyreByrd

Sure. Makes sense. I know people who can't drive to an address without their GPS. People are literally becoming dumber. They have to be told step by step instructions.

How about the kids that walk around all day with earbuds in? Maybe two, maybe only one so they can still hear what is going on around them. The point is they can't stand life and they always need distraction. They are anti-social and alienated. They have no affiliation. They don't even know the teams. The have no idea what game is being played.

Thirty years ago Marshall Brain wrote about a future fast food operation in which every employee wore headphones and responded to commands. This would be sort of like GPS for employees. The computer would tell people what task was needing to be accomplished. It would turn people into robots.

All true. All scary. All an attack on our way of life. The front is everywhere!

posted on May, 4 2019 @ 02:38 PM
a reply to: FyreByrd

I am guilty of this.

I used to plan out trips using maps but have become addicted to my Tomtom.

Was out of town on business last month and it crapped out on me and I actually had to "think" and drive to get around.

Yes, I bought another one.

I'm one of "those" people I guess.

posted on May, 4 2019 @ 02:45 PM
well when I use the APP maps I rarly do more then pull it up then mess around with the size so I can read the street names .
Cant stand that women who gives directions . She should be Fired lol on the rare times I let her talk she lead me way way out of my way .
The fastest route ?? well her thinking is Interstate roads ( never mind going 50 miles out of the way to get to it . Never mind the Fastest BY far is the scenic route which saves 50 miles in travel and the speed maintains over 55 except for two blink and you miss them towns .

posted on May, 4 2019 @ 02:46 PM
ps could not find a PAPER city map even online
Maybe a atlas of The US which can help with cross country but once in city local map is best

posted on May, 4 2019 @ 02:47 PM
I showed my step-son how to triangulate your position with a topo map, and a compass.

He looked at me like I was a wizard summoning a demon.

posted on May, 4 2019 @ 02:50 PM
I make certain there is a map in the car of any area we are driving through, I use GPS but I haven't forgotten the skills I learned in Survival school.

Anything from a natural disaster to war to making a wrong turn in some areas can remove those technological comforts and if you cant use a map and compass your toast.

posted on May, 4 2019 @ 03:04 PM
Technology is dependence. When the power goes out for good, the few who survive the initial social melee won't have a damn clue how to take a s#.

Then the state can rush in to play savior.

posted on May, 4 2019 @ 03:13 PM
a reply to: FyreByrd

I love maps! I too collect them. I've always loved to look at a map.

Life isn't only about knowing where you are, but knowing what's around you, knowing what's around the next corner or the next mountain.

I can't imagine a life without maps.

I have about 3 GPS's and rarely use them. I'd rather look at a map instead.

GPS is like a metaphor for society today. People are selfish and only care about the space 3 feet around them. Maps, on the other hand, give one the bigger picture of the world around them.

posted on May, 4 2019 @ 03:15 PM
a reply to: Generation9

It does contribute to dumbing us down. But the big problem presented in this article is about the potential for hacking. It would cause chaos.

Much like, most stores can't operate at all without computers, employees no longer can do functions on paper or in their head for later input should the power go down.

It is a frightening trend.

posted on May, 4 2019 @ 03:16 PM
a reply to: DBCowboy

I never would go anywhere without a map. LOL - I still print out google maps for myself, though I use Waze in the car.

posted on May, 4 2019 @ 03:18 PM
Convenience, the silent killer of intelligence and handyness.

Who today can start a fire without tools like matches, a lighter, lenses a plastic bag filled with water or a flint stone? I mean, not reading, seeing it on TV or knowing about it but have it done actually.

But I agree that maps are important. Not just the experience how to navigate the best road but also read terrain and such. Knowing the symbols for springs and similar...

posted on May, 4 2019 @ 03:22 PM
a reply to: FyreByrd

I don't know if I'd say GPS is the 'most consequential exchange of technologies in history' though.

That prize would go to the cell phone over a a landslide! No comparison. The cell phone has completely transformed not only communications, but all of society itself. GPS hasn't managed to transform society yet. won't be long before the GPS device is made completely obsolete by, you guessed it...the cell phone. Just watch.

Granted, GPS technology is a great leap, but just a drop in the bucket in comparison to the cell phone.

edit on 5/4/2019 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 4 2019 @ 03:50 PM
Not reading maps also makes it impossible to understand world history or world politics.
People can use GPS when they're on the spot, but it must leave them in the dark about events in the rest of the world.
Only maps will explain why Russia wants the Crimea, or why Americans should care about Chinese interest in a Nicaragua canal.

posted on May, 4 2019 @ 03:56 PM
On the subject of maps...Want to hear something scary?

I work in aviation, and in the world of airports there is a document called an Airport Layout Plan (or ALP). This is a critical document which shows where everything is located at an airport...exactly. Everything at an airport is based on this document, including the approach paths for aircraft, the locations of taxiways and runways...everything. If something gets built at an airport it must, by law, be shown on the ALP. This prevents 'trivial' things like planes flying into buildings and the like.

Navigation aids around the country are way points on the ground which aircraft can use to determine their exact location in the air.

Over the years, all of these things have been located using traditional land survey methods, the same methods which mapped out this entire country, and the world around us. This, back long before there was ever a GPS constellation system. Land survey was an imperfect science / engineering discipline because, well, the Earth is round. Have you ever been driving down a long straight country road when all of a sudden it makes a quick jog to the left and then back to the right again? We all have. This is an example of survey errors over the years. Cities and towns are no different, just like airports. Without going into a whole lot of detail, errors get pushed out to locations where they don't really matter so everything can remain referenced correctly to certain points of reference within a system (i.e. a City, town or airport). The errors get corrected out in some distant location where they don't matter as much. Imagine if an airport runway made a 200' jog to the left and back to the right again! Bad ju-ju, right?

Now enter a thing called GIS, or Geo-spatial Information Systems. These are computer software systems which show where things are. They're like a big brother to things like Computer Aided Design (CAD). The idea is to create maps which show where everything is, but now those errors we spoke of earlier matter...and they have to be corrected...all of them!

Back in 2007 the FAA decreed they were moving toward what is known as an "e"ALP, meaning an Electronic ALP. Okay, but where would they get the data? Well, the thinking is, from GIS systems. But where did all the GIS systems get their data? Most of it comes from the original land survey data, but not all of it. Some of it comes from modern GPS survey data. The problem is, the land survey data deviates from the GPS data. To draw a crude analogy; it didn't matter if the airport was 200' off of where it was supposed to be (just an extreme example), because anyone flying into the airport knew where everything else in the vicinity was. But now, when you take that same data and plug it into country wide GIS systems to make your eALPs from these errors matter...big time! And, something has to give!

Re-surveying an entire airport can be a monumental undertaking, and take years to complete. Yet, in the meantime, the eALP exists, but the airport isn't exactly where it says it is. It may be just a foot, but in some cases it can be 20' feet, or even a 100' feet. Now, fortunately this problem was known, and the locations of things like runways and such were corrected immediately. But there are still compounding errors in other areas at airports which will not be corrected for years, if ever.

Technology is great...sometimes.

posted on May, 4 2019 @ 03:56 PM
I won't use the GPS things, we have a map in the car and we also ordered a michigan road and trail map that came with the app for the phone to look at maps. Those GPS things don't work very well around here with all the iron and metals in the ground.

posted on May, 4 2019 @ 04:14 PM
I always have a full size Rand McNally North American Road Atlas with me on trips. It gives you an overall perspective a GPS just can't do.

posted on May, 4 2019 @ 04:33 PM
I use topographical 1:50,000 or 1:100,000 scale grid maps, compass, and protractor for the areas I am in. Otherwise known as "military maps".

I also use GPS and GPS guided application on my phone.

You can get tear proof topographical maps online and you can get the literature you need to learn how to use them.

posted on May, 4 2019 @ 05:07 PM
a reply to: FyreByrd

I still remember writing down directions and sketching out a rough road maps with street names to get to places, stopping off at phone booths to call people to let them know I'll be a little late or ask for directions.

When I first started hiking and doing outdoor conservation work I was given a map and I knew how to use a lensatic compass for map reading and triangulation. I honestly think I've forgotten because I just use my outdoor GPS now.

I can still read a map, it's pretty simple. But to utilize it for all it's use it's like math, you need to continuously practice it to just use it effortlessly. A skill long gone. I used to be able to find geocaches with a compass and a proper detailed topographic map.

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