Technology has evolved over the years and a lot keep asking the question about maps. Are they even important anymore now that we have GPS technology installed on soo many electronic devices. With a smart phone you can always navigate to any location at any time, so does this mean we do not need paper maps anymore?
Of course maps are important, we cannot do away with paper maps because of technology and in this article we are going to be explaining why.
Maps first appeared on cave walls, mammoth tusks, and clay tablets then explorers drew maps on paper as we began to understand the shape of our world. Today we use advanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS) that combine complex math and visualizations allows us to plan, understand, and connect us to what matters.
Reasons Why Maps Are Important
We know you still have doubts on where this is going but hopefully after finishing off this article you will get to understand why they are important even after the tech-evolution.
1. Maps Simplify Complicated Information
Maps take complex data sets and display them in a pleasing graphic you can use to answer questions about your world.
Imagine having a huge debate with your friends about how big one country is over the other and one of you just pulls out the world map with all country boundaries mapped out. PROBLEM SOLVED!!!.
Maps are a visual representation of complicated data. Some may think maps are unnecessary and complicated tools, but in reality, maps simplify your life, just as they simplified the debate with tyour friends above.
2. Maps are Functional Tools
GPS can get you from point A to point B but it does a poor job with helping you visualize where you are in relation to everything else.
Most people know how GPS works. It finds your location and you tell it where you want to go. GPS is very good at getting you to that next location but it doesn’t tell you anything about the places that you’re passing along the way.
There’s a reason why cross-country trips aren’t planned on a phone. The best route isn’t always the fastest route and you can’t pick your best route without knowing your relationship to all the places around you.
3. Maps Help You Acquire Life Skills
Maps support spatial thinking by helping you visualize where objects, places, cities, and countries are in relation to one another.
Spatial thinking has been linked to greater success in math and science. People who develop robust spatial thinking skills will be at an advantage in our global and technological society.
4. Maps Can Save Your Life
According to World Tourism data, there are more than 300 million people visiting national parks, forests, and wilderness areas every year. Cell signals don’t extend to all these areas and maps may be the only reference you’ll have in an emergency.
If there’s flooding near you, you’ll need to know how to get to the closest high elevation. If an injury happens, you’ll need to get to the nearest high traffic area for help. If a bear cuts off your path, you’ll need to find an alternate route fast.
So don’t get caught out there holding your phone to the sky begging for a signal. A paper map will actually save your life.
5. Maps Provide Safety in a World of Detached Humans
There have been multiple cases that deal with accidents related to GPS. A recent study looked at GPS’s effect on drivers and concluded that GPS users “attend to objects in the paths they take toward their destination” but researchers also “found evidence for loss of environmental engagement. The process of interpreting the world, adding value to it, and turning space into place is reduced to a certain extent and drivers remain detached from the indifferent environments that surround them.”
The conclusion: “GPS eliminated much of the need to pay attention.”
This applies to other aspects of our lives as well. The more we pay attention to the device, the less we pay attention to our surroundings. Maps, on the other hand, ground you to your surroundings. In this world, maps are the hero of the story and GPS will always be the sidekick.
6. Maps are a Blueprint of Our History
Maps give you a glimpse into how people understood their world at the time the map was created.
Take a look at an old map. Of course, old maps show you the differences of what was there then and what is there now but the map also shows you how the mapmakers understood their world
Are parts of the world missing because they didn’t know they existed? Are there inaccuracies because of incorrect assumptions? The cartographer and reason for the development of the maps can completely change how a map looks.
Maps are a time capsule that explains much more beyond the depiction of geography.
7. Maps Connect You to Your Memories
A map isn’t just a picture of a place, it’s a connection to the memories you have in that place. Google has since brought up a feature (Google Photos) that connects all your photos depending on the locations they were taken from in order to help you memorize events.
Maps inspire you to think outside your world, to expand your horizons, and to take a look at the places you have been and the places you want to go to.
When one reads a place on a map that they’ve visited, they can’t help but conjure up memories of that place. Maps are a treasure trove of memories and stories of the places where you’ve spent time.
Look at a map with someone else and it won’t take long for you both to start pointing to different spots and sharing stories of that place.
8. Maps Make You Happy
Going on a trip can be a thrilling adventure but planning can also be an exciting part of your journey. Have you ever wondered why they hand you out paper maps when you go for a camping trip?
Well, in most camping areas, GPS signals can be quite problem and in additional it will not cover all the landmarks along the way. One thing that makes camping trips exciting is the planning part. Take out a map before you go on an adventure and see how many places you can point out in anticipation of getting to actually see and experience them.
So grab a map, plan a trip, and be happy!
9. Maps Give Stories Context
Where a story happened is often as important as what happened in the story. To fully understand the full context of a story, you need to understand where the story exists in space and what relationship it has to areas around it.
This is why some of the most popular complex stories over time include maps, like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. Maps make these stories richer by including layers of additional context.
Those who have actually watched Game of Thrones can even picture the places using the maps that are displayed before the beginning of every episode. You would actually tell the directions of Westeros and Kings Landing from one another and be able to think imaginatively.
10. Maps Give Inspiration
Maps inspire you to think outside your own world, to expand your horizons, and take a look at the places you want to go to.
The world is a big place and even just acknowledging there are huge amounts of space in the world that you know nothing about can expand your mind. Yearning to understand our massive world will inspire one to learn and explore. It doesn’t matter if you travel out of your country or halfway across the world, a fresh outlook on the enormity of the world and a glimpse of a different culture beyond your own makes you a better human.