questionscan anyone read a map anymore?

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I gave my GPS to my daughter, last time I drove out there. It's a toy, and it was entertaining for a while, but I trust maps more than any GPS made. Every time I hear a story about someone trusting a GPS over their own common sense, I just nod my head, and mutter quietly to myself.

I have two or three maps of states I've visited often (back when I worked, and traveled all over the place). I have city maps of the important cities; Miami needs a map, Boston needs a map, Cambridge has its own map too, Dallas needs a map... you get the idea. I have the fancy Rand-Mcnally(sp) Road Atlas, and I buy a new one every few years (it has all the states, and Canada, and bits of Mexico.

On the other hand, I'm about as much of an outlier as you can get, so the fact that I like and use maps is just one more thing that may make me different than the norm.

I also have four globes, from various times, just because the changes in the world are so interesting.

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I have two Mapsco's, one each for Dallas and Fort Worth that I bring along when going somewhere new. Also have some regular maps of Texas, Minnesota, and a couple others. The Trip Tic's maps from AAA are great for road trips. Most of the time I start by getting driving directions from Mapquest. Sometimes that's enough. I think GPS are cool, just don't know if I want someone telling me where to go.

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I have maps, but in the region I live with all the development a lot of the streets and roads aren't on the one in the car which is about five years old. I am too cheap to buy a new every year. Plus really? pulling over all the time to look at one is time consuming when a GPS can tell you what you need to do. But I don't own a GPS it is on my wish list, I currently have to print out Google Map directions to everything if I am going somewhere new. I also print out the map to go with it and usually review it online as i am quite visual.

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I have maps from every state I visit. If I am travelling on the interstate, I usually get a new one at the Welcome Centers. When I am graveyard hunting on a genealogy project, I usually get a local/county map from the police/sheriff department. GPS doesn't do much good when you are out in the woods looking for an old cemetery and I like--really like--maps. Big picture, tactile input, other possibilities/routes to go somewhere.

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@sand4me: See I collect maps too, but that is different. I don't use those to actually drive places though.

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I like looking at Google Maps, topo maps, local maps, etc. for general browsing. I can read maps just fine and am pretty savvy at making good navigational decisions. However, if I'm driving somewhere unfamiliar alone, I want the GPS as my navigator. You obviously still need to read road signs and get yourself to the destination.

What GPS will do that no map will is tell you precisely WHERE on the map you are. That is invaluable when you're lost and late and can save a TON of time if you miss a turn or exit on a highway. It's also a great tool for finding gas/food/lodging in more rural areas.

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Different uses - I use maps, including Google Maps, for planning and GPS for actual traveling. We went to Las Vegas last April, and I reviewed the maps for the area beforehand (trips to Hoover Dam, Red Rock canyon, Springs Preserve and a few other places off the Strip) but then relied on the GPS for current position when driving. Like anything, it's a tool - use the right one for the right job and keep your wits about you when you're behind the wheel :-).

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I'm reading technology prejudices and misunderstandings about GPS. First of all, a lifetime ago I trained as a USAF navigator. I belonged to AAA for a long time. I got new maps regularly. They had a wonderful pair of campground maps for California. I had 2 Delorme Topo mapbooks for California. I use digital maps for planning trips. I have both MS and Delorme digital mapping software. I have several GPS units. I now have a GPS receiver for a laptop/netbook. I like the capabilities of GPS. I use Google Maps and Streetview. GPS is extremely useful. Actually it should be easier to find a graveyard using GPS, but you need the location information.

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I love maps and I think I'm pretty good at reading them. But alone in the car, especially at night, trying to read a map without pulling over is dangerous. I don't slavishly follow the GPS, sometimes its routes are stupid. But sometimes it shows good alternatives I did not consider. I really love the GPS when going someplace unfamiliar at night when it's harder to read street signs and house numbers.

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Okay, it's early (for me), and I'm still drinking coffee, but I can't resist. The maps I like the most are antiques. I just sent a set of celestial maps to a local university for their collection. You can get a feel for what I sent from here:

http://cgi.ebay.com/F-J-Huntingtons-1835-Celestial-Chart-Map-Set-of-5_W0QQitemZ260434927535QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item3ca3219faf

In case that auction disappears, the seller is offering 5 pages, framed, for $3,900.00, and states that "Recently a set of 6 very similar celestial charts also framed sold for over $13,750 on Christies.com" which surprises me greatly. As anyone who deals in antiquities knows, by cutting them up and framing them, the value is REDUCED greatly (and it makes some of us sad to know it was done).

and here:

http://www.goantiques.com/detail,huntingtons-1835-celestial,1421005.html

I took pictures of the ones I sent off, and I already miss them.

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@corrado: I agree with this. The big issue is when you are driving alone you need a navigator and the GPS is that 'person' it means you don't have to stop or worse drive AND read the map which is almost the same as driving and texting.

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I've got both - a set of maps and a road atlas as well as GPS. The GPS is great for when I'm in a new area and looking for specific places/landmarks/businesses. Need to see if there's a place to eat in the next town, use the GPS. And it's good for when I'm the only driver. But, if I'm not driving alone, then I prefer maps. Faster to read. Faster to get an idea of the overall picture (do I detour here to avoid downtown traffic, etc).

For what it's worth, the GPS has taught my son how to read maps. He spends most of his time in the car, when his nose isn't buried in a video game, staring at the GPS map as I drive about town. Just this last week, they had a segment on "how to read maps" for the Cub Scouts. Without prompting, he knew how to read the map, find north, and where many major landmarks were that were off the page. So I wouldn't say that having a GPS means you can't read maps.

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I have a nice laminated TX map for when I am driving across the state. For local maps I use mapquest or google before I leave and just print it out.

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I can read maps. All kinds. Not just street maps. As far as GPS v paper v google... Any of these sources are only as good as the data that goes into them. GPS units come with data that needs to be updated. Usually, at a pretty hefty price. Any time I've ever gotten lost using a web service, it's been google maps. I have come to like Bing Maps more than Google. I could spend quite some time talking about maps, accuracy and how geocoding works, but I'd probably bore you. Paper maps are good. I have them in my car for when my directions fail me. I recommend to all of my friends to put a Gazetteer in their car for the states they frequent.

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I have used MicroSoft Streets and Trips (on a notebook computer)since 2001; up until then, I used maps from AAA. In 2005, I added the GPS sensor for a fraction of the cost of a GPS. I work an area that covers 13 states, so carrying a notebook computer (now a netbook) is less weight and more information than a trunk full of maps. I upgrade the Streets and Trips program every 2 or 3 years. I also have a Garmin GPS, but I prefer to use the netbook since it gives me street level views (or 30,000 foot views) and has the "feel" of a map.

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I used to buy the Thomas Bros. map for the area (Puget Sound region), but since getting a GPS receiver and map viewer, I hardly do anymore.

There's one benefit to having paper maps: in case the map viewer's battery dies. But with all-in-ones coming with car chargers, such a scenario isn't likely.

For anyone complaining about the map being inaccurate: each data provider has reporting mechanisms:
* For OpenStreetMap, you can fix it yourself, or use OpenStreetBugs. OpenStreetMap tends to have more in-depth data in many locations (including foot paths and bicycle parking); it's like the Wikipedia of mapping. And if you use a Garmin or other compatible unit, updates can be free (both libris and gratis).
* TeleAtlas and Navteq (formerly Navtech) have forms on their websites: http://mapinsight.teleatlas.com/ and http://mapreporter.navteq.com/ are the sites.
* Google/Bing/Yahoo/Mapquest/etc. should have something directly on their web pages.

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I could do my bookkeeping with a scratch paper and pencil, but I'd rather use a calculator.

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Yep, I still use maps. For preference, not google maps or mapquest maps or things of that ilk, although I do occasionally have recourse to them. Have a cabinet in the garage that has the various maps I don't normally need.

Don't have a GPS. I would find it too distracting when I'm driving, I think.

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@brennda1: Having seen the errors that creep in, and are not recognized by those dependant on calculators, I'd suggest that you still use paper and pencil to verify your work. This is a serious recommendation, especially since it is so near tax time. Mind you, I trust my finances to applications such as Quicken, but a calculator (or Quicken) is only as good as the fingers typing the data.

Trust, but verify.

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I think it's always smart to have a physical map of where you're going, although I can't remember the last time I actually looked at one.

I use my iphone (Not 3G => no GPS) which is still reading a map but it's easier for obvious reasons. I like it because I can quickly learn my way around a new area this way.

I think GPS is great if you don't rely on it too much. If people use it as their only source for directions, they will never learn their way around anywhere.

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Thank you everybody who has replied to this. I love to here their are plenty of people still out there with maps and the responses for the GPS users has been really great, it is nice to here some still use maps as backup.

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@catbertthegreat: While I'm thinking about it, thanks for asking the question. The answers have been interesting and thought provoking. What more could we ask for than that?

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I have copies of all of the street maps of California from north of the San Francisco bay area to the Mexico border, that were available from CSAA (AAA). It fills 3 or 4 shoebox size containers. My PN-20 has all of that and more in a 1GB SD card. My netbook has maps of the entire US to street level. All privately printed maps have small intentional errors included for copyright protection. None of these remain current.

I used to visit the tourist information centers whenever I could find them. I picked up both brochures and maps when I could. Sometimes, I paid for what appeared to be the best map.

This discussion has been interesting. It shows that each of us will use what we are comfortable using. I am glad that there are so many choices.

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Can't anybody read a sundial any more? With all the watch deals out there, I'm wondering if...

Yes, one should not blindly rely on the spoken directions from a plastic box, especially since the map software is frequently out of date or just plain wrong. On the other hand, stopping every few minutes to look at a map is very inconvenient, and trying to read the map while driving is dangerous (stupid?). I use a GPS a lot... but I have a map book just in case.

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I can read maps - but I cannot fold them, never could.

DC

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@dsorgnzd: Actually, I have good evidence that most people do not grasp the concept behind a sundial. I have one in my garden, and I've had to explain to more than one person WHY it's in a spot that gets all day sun, and WHY it's in the particular position it is. I've also had someone ask, with a straight face, if I had to move it for daylight savings time.

Map reading is a skill, and like math, it's good to have a calculator, but it's also good to know when to test results, and HOW to test them. I like technology (if you could see my computer room, you would know this), but remind you of the important mantra in everything.

Trust, but verify.

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My friend and I regularly use a GPS, it's a necessity in the Boston area. Whoever's sitting shotgun will often neglect the directions and send the driver off on a better route, using the maps that the GPS provides or Google Maps on either of our phones. Paper maps are difficult, especially if I'm by myself driving because of their sheer bulk. Google Maps on the phone is much more preferable because I can manipulate the map out of the corner of my eye while driving, or if I have a passenger they just earned themselves a job.

tl;dr: I use the GPS, but I don't trust it entirely.

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I can read a map and a few times I've even used one for geocaching. This was taught to me in Boy Scouts. I also have a GPS because I recognize the benefits to owning one.

The benefit of having a GPS doesn't trump a map but it does enhance having one. My map's aren't backlit, I can't get restaurant recommendations and reviews on the fly to my exact location and if I take the wrong turn, I'd rather blame the GPS than argue with my wife about whether or not she (or it, the GPS) told me to take a left. :D

I do know what you mean... people are so unnecessarily attached to technology that they won't know how to live with it when something goes wrong. People are too dependent on television, celebrities, the government and lack a general sense of personality responsibility. BRING IT BACK!

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While I can hardly remember how I got anywhere before my in car GPS, I also thought the same about Google Maps, and before that, Mapquest.

There is some nostalgic fun in taking out an actual map for directions. And folding it back up is always a hoot.

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You are not the only one. While I have used the gps in the car and its ok...I like my original system of map reading while traveling. Call me old fashion...even though I'm not 50 yet!

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I just found the "ask the wooters" so forgive the lateness.

I consider myself to be "directionally-challenged" and I like/need maps because I have to see how streets relate to each other. I really like the Rand McNally Easyfinder (pre-laminated folded map). I live in Dallas/Fort Worth and keep that one with me always. It's scale is smallish but I figure I'll eventually hit a major roadway and can find my way home if I get lost. Mapsco has/had one called D-FW Metro Traveler that shows the entire area, too. I keep it on the wall above my computer.

But I really like that my husband's Garmin GPS can find the very best way to get to a freeway in an unfamiliar area and I like the Arrival Time feature. However, he needs to update the software because it gets confused when we are on newer roads.

I suppose one day I'll give in and get one for my car.