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SatNav,GPS,Navigation
Map reading skills suffer due to over reliance on satnavs


Article by: Darren Griffin
Date: 31 Mar 2016

pocketgpsworld.com
Have you ever used a satnav or mobile phone to guide you to a location only to realise when you arrive that you have little idea how you got there?

The former president of the Royal Institute of Navigation, Roger McKinlay, writing in Nature, says this is happening more and more due to our over reliance on satnavs. Unlike an old fashioned map, we lose our situational awareness when we follow instructions on an electronic device.

The ability to read a map and plan a route is a valuable skill and Roger claims we are rapidly losing our natural sense of navigation. "Mountain rescue teams are tired of searching for people with drained smart phone batteries, no sense of direction and no paper map."

Navigation is a 'use-it-or-lose-it' skill and one we should make more effort to retain.

Source:



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Comments
Posted by lenfish on Thu Mar 31, 2016 2:45 pm Reply with quote

This does not apply to my wife, she was useless at map reading before SatNavs!


 
Posted by mistersaxon on Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:52 am Reply with quote

I think image recognition is good enough in phones now that you should be able to open up an app that reads the map and highlights where you are on it as a VR overlay - in fact it could just read the map barcode to identify it and then it would only need to see a corner and a couple of edges to locate you.

Then you can carry on with a paper map for a bit and check your location from time to time, saving battery life AND training yourself to use a map.

Win-win? Come on OS - you have nice map apps already but this would be fun to use I think.


<br>
Rich.
Kit: TomTom iPhone WEurope on iPhone6s+ / iPad Pro
w/ Interphone BT headset on a Honda Blackbird (should change this really - the bike, not the headset)

 
Posted by legalspeed on Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:26 pm Reply with quote

I think that most of this is a generational thing. I'm old enough to have used road maps and city street guides only to find my way around, and, although I nowadays will use a sat nav, it's certainly the servant, not the master. My children bridged the gap between maps and sat nav introduction. They are happy with a sat nav, but still have a good sense of direction. My grand daughter has known little else but sat nav use and tends to rely on it much more than her parents.
I don't think that its just the sense of direction that you can lose by relying on electronic devices. When my children were students, they had pub jobs from time to time. They had to remember things like the prices of drinks and other things ordered, enter into the till, and work out the correct change etc. the result of this is that, even years later, they are still pretty good at mental arithmetic.
I was in a pub recently and things have changed considerably, in that there was just a touch screen with pictures of what was on sale. All that had to be done was to touch the relevant picture the relevant number of time. It even asked for the amount tendered and then gave the amount of change to be given.
Its probable that in a few years time you will read how poor peoples' sense of direction is and how poor their mental arithmetic is.
There's certainly something right with the old saying "use it or lose it".


 
Posted by Guivre46 on Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:39 pm Reply with quote

There's more skills than map reading associated with a paper map. Either I was on my own and trying to chart progress via an atlas on the passenger seat, or I was arguing with my wife about how many roundabouts it was to the next turning. The satnav solved both those problems. I was brought up on map and compass, and would still prefer that if I was walking.


Mike R [aka Wyvern46]
Go 530T - unsupported
Go550 Live [not renewed]
Kia In-dash Tomtom

 
Posted by Quinny1 on Sat Apr 02, 2016 5:21 pm Reply with quote

Certainly doesn't affect me, as I can plot map references on the move in a rally car.....


 
Posted by DeLorean on Sat Apr 02, 2016 6:43 pm Reply with quote

lenfish Wrote:
This does not apply to my wife, she was useless at map reading before SatNavs!


Same for me... my wife is abysmal at reading maps, but since I bought her a SatNav she can drive to the local shops and back on her own Very Happy


🔸🔸 Currently using TomTom GO 940 & Locus Map 🔸🔸

 
Posted by sussamb on Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:20 pm Reply with quote

Guivre46 Wrote:
There's more skills than map reading associated with a paper map. Either I was on my own and trying to chart progress via an atlas on the passenger seat, or I was arguing with my wife about how many roundabouts it was to the next turning. The satnav solved both those problems. I was brought up on map and compass, and would still prefer that if I was walking.


I've given up on paper maps for walking also, preferring my GPS instead. Still needs map reading skills though to use properly.


Where there's a will ... there's a way.

 
Posted by pillboxman on Sun Apr 03, 2016 12:54 pm Reply with quote

An interesting article.

Personally I see my TomTom more as a moving map.

I always plan my journeys using real maps (usually digital ones these days), then TomTom (other PND's are available) replaces my wifes finger on the road atlas or Ordnance Survey map.

In later years, or if I was travelling alone, we replaced the finger on the map with a small blob of Blue Tack which we asiduasly moved along the route as we passed through a junction.

PND's can never replace careful planning, but they do take all the strain away from journeys.

As an aside, on all non local journeys I keep TomTom running as a driving aid, it's great to be able to see sharp bends etc that are up ahead.

John


 
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