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Road Maps vs. GPS


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#16
danielle

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I was pleased to hear a commercial for Hagstrom road maps on a NYC radio station the other day. It mentioned many of the advantages of printed atlases mentioned here. They have a nice series of spiral bound atlases, and posters, of the NY-NJ area. They also make little "Haglet" wallet-sized folded maps on durable paper, which I love.

I usually use a combination of printed and online maps when I travel. I like the context of the atlas, plus the specific turning directions from online. Don't have my own GPS, but they are handy in unfamiliar areas.

I really like the new online features that let you modify your route by dragging parts of the map around. The route becomes a "suggestion" that you can alter based on your own preferences and knowledge of traffic, etc.

If it's a local trip where I have my own GIS data, sometimes I just make my own maps and include local points of interest. I'll add the subways and sometimes the specific shops/restaurants I'm interested in. For example, I can scope out vegetarian restaurants online before going to a client location.

Another point about GPS units is how often they are stolen. There are a bunch of thefts from hotel parking lots mentioned in our local police blotter every week. You never hear that about paper maps!

Danielle

#17
Greg

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Another point about GPS units is how often they are stolen. There are a bunch of thefts from hotel parking lots mentioned in our local police blotter every week. You never hear that about paper maps!


Very true!

I absolutely love seeing Innovations like the Hagstrom "Haglets".

Rand McNally are starting to produce small downtown maps on microfibre cloth. They call them "fabMaps". They are quite durable, and also double as cleaning cloth for your eyeglasses or sunglasses.
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#18
Jean-Louis

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Having drawn nearly every street (and building) in my town. I use neither map nor GPS to get around. Its all in my head!
I have no car either but friends call me on their cell phones for directions when they are driving because it's easier than looking it up.
Jean-Louis Rheault
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#19
frax

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I can see a big advantage with having a GPS or a phone - when I am travelling in less touristy areas I often want to blend in to a certain degree (harder in Africa, for me!) and with a big guide book or a map spread it is harder. A mobile phone is something that everyone has, and my Garmin Etrex looks more or less like a phone (to the person passing by).

It got handy when I was in Kiev earlier this year, but I didn't manage to catch any of the geocaches there...
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#20
mike

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Another point about GPS units is how often they are stolen. There are a bunch of thefts from hotel parking lots mentioned in our local police blotter every week. You never hear that about paper maps!


Very true!

I absolutely love seeing Innovations like the Hagstrom "Haglets".

Rand McNally are starting to produce small downtown maps on microfibre cloth. They call them "fabMaps". They are quite durable, and also double as cleaning cloth for your eyeglasses or sunglasses.


Yeah! They are really cool.... I saw these fabMaps at the BEA (Book Expo America) conference in LA about a month ago. They had a lot of different cities available, but were only giving away the LA related ones. I think I got one of Beverly Hills. haha. Very neat idea, and I like how you can just scrunch it up or fold it and put it into your pocket.

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#21
frax

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Interesting... So you can blow your nose in the Beverly Hills map?
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#22
mike

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Interesting... So you can blow your nose in the Beverly Hills map?


You probably could. But the mucus might make it hard to read the map.

#23
Derek Tonn

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Is a cartographer someone who understands the peculiar balance of information-gathering and truth-checking, visual hierarchy and multi-scale design, symbol and representation, which have grown up with modern cartography? To my mind, this is a growing field. Just a matter of what platform you're working on. If you were totally invested in scribecoat and manual techniques fifteen to twenty years ago and never learned how to use a computer, you'd be pretty much be through today. Today, if you're totally invested in desktop drawing tools, you're going to have a real tough time of it fifteen or twenty years down the road. But the basic design skills? To quote MasterCard (reluctantly)... priceless.


I've eluded to this question in other threads around CartoTalk...but I would ask this question of everyone related to this topic:

Is a "map" an end or the means to an end?

I would contend, as I think most of us would, that the conveyance of information and/or wayfinding is the ultimate goal...not just a pretty or accurate picture that is ALWAYS oriented with North on-top, so as not as to confuse or offend any cartographers out there. :P Just kidding, just kidding.

What do I need to know? How do I get there? If we (as cartographers and map designers) can think outside the box just long-enough to really THINK about those two questions...turning off all of the "filters," "right ways to do it" or peer-pressure stuff that has been pounded into our heads over the years and give user-centered design a try, we might just come up with some new and creative ideas for carving out interesting and profitable niches for ourselves over the long-term.

I can certainly say this though: I would not want to be in the "road maps" business at this time. Severe downward pressure on price-points, along with so much of the industry starting to turn over into bits and bytes. It's a real shame too...as I've been a HUGE fan (and collector) of road maps since I was a child! I just assume that more and more of the industry is going to move into handheld electronic devices in the future...which means folks (me included) have to adapt or die. Professionally, at least. Not personally or as a fan/collector. NEVER!!! ;)
Derek Tonn
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#24
oldtoby

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Well, i'll start using a Car Nav system when their data is actually as up to date and accurate as they claim on their TV ads.

I'm a cartographer at a conventional map company and we were looking for GIS data for a county in North Carolina. The owner talked to NAVTEQ about their data and the person he talked to freely admitted that the data for that particular county was at least 8 years old. Lots of typos in the road names too. And this is the same data that is being used in online apps like Yahoo maps, Mapquest or in stuff like TomTom nav systems. Its probably ok for major metro areas and major highways, but beyond that I wouldn't trust it. And i collapse in laughter every time I see an ad touting "real time updates"

#25
Derek Tonn

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Yep....a lot of that NAVTEQ data is pretty dated. We've found out the HARD way on that in recent years, as we've been putting together several maps for Parade of Homes events around the country. Probably 10-15% of roads in new development areas didn't even exist the last time some of those data sets were updated...and I challenge or DARE you to pinpoint the location of a new home...on a new cul de sac.....off a new road when you don't have the time/budget to travel to the location to check it out in person! :P

That said, one thing I will say in GIS/GPS's defense: how many print maps are out there in people's hands that are using old/inaccurate data sets too? The NANO-SECOND something is taken to the printers, it is pretty-much out of date. Such is the nature of map design, it seems. On a positive note, however, that constant change also keeps a lot of us in business too. :)
Derek Tonn
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#26
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There are other points with GPS rather than getting directions, just knowing your position is a big feature.
Hugo Ahlenius
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#27
gregsd

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There are other points with GPS rather than getting directions...


...like blaming it as the reason you crashed your car :rolleyes:

1 in 50 in UK Survey Blame Crash on SatNav
British insurance company Direct Line carried out the survey for the newspaper The Mirror about satnavs and accidents. Highlights:

300,000 motorists have crashed because of a device
1.5 million drivers have suddenly veered in busy traffic while following a device's directions.
Five million have been sent the wrong way down a one-way street.
One in 10 drivers with a satnav says following its instructions made them take a dangerous or illegal turn.



Greg Driver

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MapInfo User...!

#28
kevinpaulscarrott

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We may be heading towards a BLADE RUNNER environment.
There may be a few that would appreciate that kind of world.

People are empting their brains onto devices.
Once they have all the devices most become ’brain-dead’

Personally I appreciate a more balanced approach. There’s room for all the various devices and formats, but at the same time we need to encourage dexterity and flair. Having a balanced command of both old and new technologies will always give one the edge in an ever increasing cynical corporate world.

Stanley Kubrick once said “Astonish me” (from: Cocteau's Orpheé)
There are cartographers all around the world that still astonish in their various capacities.

Have a good one!

Kevin Paul

#29
David Medeiros

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Is the GPS taking over the role of the classic road map?

A little, and thats too bad. Most consumer level GPS devices are little more than trip computers with a bland and often incomplete base map. They work great for short A to B trips, or for keeping track of when your exit is coming up without having to pull your eyes off the road. But they are terrible for planning purposes or for getting the big picture of your trip.

How many of you still use a road map in the car?

All the time. I use full size paper maps for trip planning and my GPS for trip driving. I use web maps for looking up single point local destinations (a trip to a hardware store I've never been to before), but use my regular paper maps for most out of town trips.

Is it just as easy (and cheaper) to print driving directions from Google maps?

It's easy, but you have to employ some critical thinking. Web directions lack the human element of experience and intuition which often lead you to take unusual routes that better serve your trip.

Are Cartographers a dying breed, being replaced by GIS and Digital Maps?

Well, I was just laid off by CSAA, so yes! I am retraining to use GIS software in my work, but I will always be a cartographer first, the GIS software is just another tool. The steady increase in GEO based jobs means an ever increasing need for GIS professionals. The mapping side of these jobs are being filled by a lot of people with no cart background right now but I see a growing demand for people who are tech savy GIS users who also have a solid cartography foundation (these two things do not currently go hand in hand IMO).

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#30
David T

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Is the GPS taking over the role of the classic road map?

Not yet. It's still an emerging technology, and I would say there are far more people that utilize the classic road atlas than utilize a GPS unit to get from point A to point B.

How many of you still use a road map in the car?

Depends. I have one car that has a GPS system built in - but then again, I'm a technogeek, and I love having gadgets in the car. I don't use it that often, but then again, I'm also a map geek, and know where I'm going. My wife, who has never had the ability to use a map, uses the GPS system to get around when she doesn't know where she's going.

In the car that I don't have a GPS system in, I have a local road map atlas. I pull it out when I'm trying to get somewhere I'm unfamiliar or if I'm trying to navigate myself out of a jam (say a major traffic backup).

Is it just as easy (and cheaper) to print driving directions from Google maps?

Vs a GPS unit? Depends on the situation. If I don't need to navigate around, then yes. Since I got the GPS system in the one car, I haven't really printed out directions anymore. But I still tend to look things up online, before I get into the car, even the one with the GPS system.

Are Cartographers a dying breed, being replaced by GIS and Digital Maps?

Not at all. While it's important to have a GIS background, and GIS analysis is very important, there is still a need to effectively communicate with maps. I've seen plenty of GIS professionals that do not have the cartographic chops necessary to communicate their intended message. Professionals that can effectively communicate are an important part of any team.
David Toney, GISP
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