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#1
gregsd

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London (Reuters) - As many as 11 million British motorists are unable to read a basic road map, according to a survey released on Monday. :o

Sixteen percent of drivers have become so heavily reliant on satellite navigation systems that they have given up keeping a map in their car.

Full story here.


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#2
Hans van der Maarel

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Apparently there have been more and more calls like this to the ANWB (Dutch Automobile Association) helpline recently:

Caller: Help, our navigation system gave up on us and now we're lost. Can you tell us how to get to [destination]?
ANWB person: Where are you?
Caller: I don't know... somewhere in Germany...

:blink:
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#3
CHART

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Very alarming statistics for those who make conventional paper map products for 'navigation'.
Is the writing on the wall as people steer away from paper map products.
I assume that people would rather 'be told' where they are or how to get from a to b rather then having to 'read' a map. I guess the law of the least effort is part of human nature. Calculators made math. easy. Now GPS devices are making navigation easy... so why bother with the 'how to read a map'.
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#4
MapMedia

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I think it is just a greater frequency of people using Nav systems in their cars rather casually. Maybe is a generations' time paper-maps will
be marginalized, but not forgotten. A lot of people use Nav systems in rental-cars, esp. on business, so there is no need for paper maps to get
from Airport to address and back. Yes, writing has been on the wall, but there is will remain (maybe smaller) a market for paper maps (both cheap
and well made).

#5
Jean-Louis

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This is anecdotal but I remember once being in charge of dispatching salesmen around a city.. I noticed that 2 out of 3 people prefered to have Yahoo-style directions (go here, turn right, then 2 blocks..etc.) rather than look at the map. I for one, get confused by directions and have to look at the overall picture of a map. About 1 out of 3 or 4 people were like me and wanted a paper map rather than directions.
I wonder if there have been any formal studies about this.
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal


#6
Hans van der Maarel

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This is anecdotal but I remember once being in charge of dispatching salesmen around a city.. I noticed that 2 out of 3 people prefered to have Yahoo-style directions (go here, turn right, then 2 blocks..etc.) rather than look at the map. I for one, get confused by directions and have to look at the overall picture of a map. About 1 out of 3 or 4 people were like me and wanted a paper map rather than directions.
I wonder if there have been any formal studies about this.


I'm very much like you in that respect. Whenever I go someplace I haven't been before, I check on a map how to get there (even if I end up using my nav sys during driving, I still like to have a general idea of where I'm heading). In fact... I often don't even want verbal directions, because they often go like: "you sorta have to take a kind of a right turn where the old DIY store used to be, but it's not really a right turn, it looks a bit like a roundabout, get it?" (in a similar fashion, I insist that people who are with me in the car and giving me directions use terms like "left" and "right" instead of pointing and saying "there")

Maybe I'm oldfashioned ;)
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#7
BEAVER

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I wonder how tha paper mapping companies are doing compare to 5 years ago. I made my first paper map this year and the sales are going great, but my map is all about outdoors (fishing, hiking, hunting) and none of the navi systems or google have any recreational stuff on their map. How comanies that make road maps are doing.

#8
CHART

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...Maybe I'm oldfashioned..

Like you guys I like the paper map products. For me it gives me options and the 'big' picture. I believe it could a generation thing. I prepare Garmin data for a forestry client. The young forest technicians swear by their Garmin. The older technicians use the ... this is the way ... using paper products I produced 5 years ago... But I am slowly seeing some of the older guys using their Garmins for personal stuff like hunting, fishing etc... So they to are starting to use it on the job more and more. You can only put so much information on a paper product. Electronic devices will offer better hyper-local data and have a better look and feel in the near future.
Paper maps will always be an excellent complement... but not a must.
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#9
Derek Tonn

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This is anecdotal but I remember once being in charge of dispatching salesmen around a city.. I noticed that 2 out of 3 people prefered to have Yahoo-style directions (go here, turn right, then 2 blocks..etc.) rather than look at the map. I for one, get confused by directions and have to look at the overall picture of a map. About 1 out of 3 or 4 people were like me and wanted a paper map rather than directions.
I wonder if there have been any formal studies about this.


Along the lines of Jean-Louis' comments, I wanted to share an anecdotal "pet peeve" of my own related to map reading/design.

In the 15+ years that I have been designing maps professionally, I have noticed that there are two major types of individuals when it comes to maps and wayfinding. Which type of person you are can be easily determined by asking a simple question like: "How do I get to the Community Center in Springfield, MN?"

1. People who rely on things such as "North", street names and exact distances to determine where they are going. EXAMPLE: "Proceed west on Highway 14 for 7.5 miles until you reach the intersection of Highway 14 and Cass Avenue. Turn left (South) and travel 0.4 miles until you reach Central Avenue. Cross through Central Avenue and proceed 0.1 miles until you reach Community Center Drive. Turn left and park in the parking lot on the North side of the building."

2. People who rely on visual landmarks and cues to find their way.
EXAMPLE: "Travel West on Highway 14 until you see the Casey's Gas Station on the left side of the road (if you see the Coleman Plant on your right, you've traveled too far). Turn left, go down the hill past the big Lutheran church. You'll pass the Library and an old car dealership. The next stop sign is Central Avenue, right between a two-story brick building and a grain elevator. Stay on Cass until you cross the railroad tracks, then take an immediate left before reaching the River. Parking will be on your left."

Directions to the same place, but packaged VERY differently for two different types of "navigators." :)



Most (not all, but MOST) of the traditional map design community falls into category #1 in the solutions they provide in the marketplace. I also believe that many of the at least "old guard" in the industry also are clear "#1" navigators themselves...as I heard more than one comment at NACIS in Madison from individuals who said that graphical solutions related to the needs of "#2" are not even maps! My point (and my BEEF), however, is that I think that sometimes we all get too caught up in the idea of "map" and often ignore the true need of the users of our work: wayfinding.

There are exceptions to every rule, of course! However, the point of most map designs is to aid in an individual's understanding of spatial relationships...as well as to find their way from "Point A" to "Point B." It irritates me sometimes that people stick to their guns about "maps" only being the work created for individuals who fall in the "#1" category...and that everybody in "#2" is either out of luck or needs to somehow "change" or become more educated. (?)

I'll stop my rant now. However, this is an issue that I feel very passionate about, as unlucky Nat Case can attest to...listening to me chatter about it on a 6+ hour car ride back from NACIS in Madison last fall. :P As an industry though, we HAVE to stop constantly telling people "how it is" and instead broaden our perspectives and search for new and creative solutions to the historic, traditional "map" design. Paper, electronic, et al. My $1.50 (sorry).

Derek
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#10
DaveB

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I like paper maps. too. Scrolling around on a small computer screen is still no replacement for being able to see an entire poster-size map at actual size. For viewing spatial relationships I find it much easier to see the big picture on a paper map than on a digital map (not many people have poster-size screens to view digital maps on; and have you ever tried to lug one around when you were out driving or hiking? :) ).

It would be interesting to see figures on where cartographers fall in terms of different types of map-readers and wayfinders/direction-takers (have you ever driven around with a car-full of cartographers? :rolleyes: ).

Derek, out of curiosity, do you have any examples of maps for the second type of wayfarer you describe (might make a good topic for a NACIS presentation...)? (I don't think I fit into either category; I don't do well with directions, I need a map).
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#11
Derek Tonn

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Derek, out of curiosity, do you have any examples of maps for the second type of wayfarer you describe (might make a good topic for a NACIS presentation...)? (I don't think I fit into either category; I don't do well with directions, I need a map).


Dave,

I hope I'm not inadvertently hijacking this thread, but in response to your question, I would say that "#2" style maps would typically be those types of maps that are of the bird's eye/oblique variety...where architecture and visual landmarks are more important than "North" or distance. In fact, on a great-many of those style of map illustrations, "North" or a distance scale is not even found on them whatsoever. It's not because the designer "forgot" to put them there. It's simply because "North" or "0.2 miles" is not nearly as important to the piece.

Of course, a reverse "ist" or "ism" effect could be at play there too...not putting in those traditional map elements just to "stick it to The Man" (LOL). I usually try and insist upon at LEAST a North indicator on our firm's pieces...and do ask that some type of measure of distance indicator appear alongside many of our floor diagrams. However, it is accurate depiction of architecture and landscapes which determines one's ability to navigate a great-many "oblique" map illustrations. I've even seen maps of that genre (particularly in Europe) not have street names on them at all...and one can STILL find their way around with ease if the buildings are drawn with enough care and detail.

The greater point though is that what is a "map" is much more-broadly defined (in my opinion) than at least some of us make it out to be...and that WAYFINDING is the core goal of any design. We can all debate for years what it means to be a "map," but what I truly care about is whether or not the users of the design found it to be accurate, easy to use and understand, as well as pleasing to the eye. If it accomplished those goals, then it doesn't matter what other cartographers call it, I suppose... ;)
Derek Tonn
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#12
Nick Springer

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As the designer of both the maps and user interface for GPS navigation software, this is a topic I think about often. I design our software for both the map-reader person and the written-directions person. Unlike many of our competitors we give the use many display options for navigation.

For the literal, landmark type person we have a 3D map view in which your heading direction is always "up."
Attached File  copilot_3D.jpg   74.44KB   58 downloads

For the person who like written instructions we also have what we call a "Safety" view (so named because it is supposedly less distracting than an animated map), which just displays the next written turn instruction. There is also an Itinerary view which is a list of all your turn instructions.
Attached File  copilot_safety.jpg   66.59KB   55 downloads Attached File  copilot_itinerary.jpg   50.37KB   52 downloads

For people who are used to reading maps and like a big picture, we have a 2D view which you can set to be North-up through the options and zoom out.
Attached File  copilot_2D.jpg   117.78KB   53 downloads

While I of course use GPS navigation, I still like to look at a paper map before I leave on an unknown drive to familiarize myself with the route, so I have some idea where I am going. But I do think it is true that with the advent of GPS navigation, paper road maps have a challengin future.

Nick Springer

Director of Design and Web Applications: ALK Technologies Inc.
Owner: Springer Cartographics LLC


#13
DaveB

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Derek,
One NACIS session a few years ago (I think it was in Portland, Maine) talked about "mapness", where they did a study asking what the mapness (rated 1 to 10 or something like that) was of various maps/illustartions from children's books.

I'm not sure I would agree that wayfinding is the core goal of any map, although that may have to do with how broadly you (or how narrowly I) define wayfinding, but it is certainly one of the uses of many maps. At any rate I would say that maps such as you described are maps (and after I wrote my previous post those were the kinds of maps that came to mind for your second kind of direction-taker). They certainly can facilitate wayfinding. (I wonder, do they require more artistic input than the typical planimetric maps we encounter more in the digital world, and if so, is that why some might discount their mapness?)
Dave Barnes
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#14
Jean-Louis

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I think the difference between direction-getters and map-lookers reflects a general difference between people who are more focused on physical sense-perceptions and those who relate more easily to concepts. A loose example of the difference is the stereotype of Jocks and Nerds.
Mapmakers tend to be concept people while in the general public, they are a minority.
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal





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