Equipment > Maps

Five reasons why we should still read maps

(1/2) > >>

Lost Soul:
Interesting item from BBC News Website.

Maps are an aid to the brain, not a replacement of it. That statement makes sense to me.

This echoes the recently published thoughts of the UK Royal Institute for Navigation (a Royal Institute - who knew! I didn't but the online magazine Grough picked it up) -

I also can't argue with what they are saying but equally I do think that GPS does have its place - I learnt a lot of map interpretation on the hills and moors by using the GPS to ensure that I was exactly where I thought I was and then matching what I could see around me with the map. Also as someone said in a comment to the Grough article a lot can be learnt about map interpretation by using the 3D function in digital mapping and without GPS systems it seems unlikely that digital mapping would be so readily available. Perhaps the map v GPS situation should be an 'and' not an 'or'.

The debate widens - The Great Outdoor Magazine have now started an on-line vote about navigation skills -

Lost Soul:
Ianj37, The problem with GPS is that people become over reliant on it.  A 'why bother with map and compass because its difficult compared to looking at the GPS screen' attitude.  As has been stated several times elsewhere on this forum.  GPS is seductive even to the most hardened of map and compass navigators, who in turn have relied on GPS and come unstuck.

However, I certainly agree with all you state in your 10 May post.  Map and GPS is not a bad philosophy, but GPS is the back up.  Assuming the signal are not corrupted GPS gives you an undeniable position fix but does little for situational awareness.  On the other hand a map is second to none for that.

Certainly on a recent holiday in Namibia, GPS was very useful.  Driving vast distances.  Miles upon endless miles of uninhabited desert, mountain and bush.   

The only mapping available was 1 million or 1/2 million scale. Very little topographic information and so not easy to position fix unless one happened across a very infrequent road junction or was on a wiggly mountain road.  OK could have done it by timing and distance etc particularly on the endlessly straight roads, but GPS was far more convenient.  So GPS came into its own here. 

Grab a lat and long transfer to map and all was well.  Maps had lat and long grids, but their register with the landscape seemed to be a bit out in places.  But so what.   Using both we were certainly able to know where we were in the landscape.  Good situational awareness.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version