You may have stumbled upon this article while looking for something else, and the title could leave you wondering, “Do we still need to produce paper maps?”
In today’s age of technology, this may seem like a fair question. However, a paper map is more than just a map with directions; it is a safety net, something that reassures you to keep in the car on those odd days when your phone battery runs out.
Foldable maps have been in circulation for decades now, and they still haven’t lost their value despite Google Maps entering the picture in 2008.
Here are five reasons why you should store a printed road map stored in your car’s glove compartment at all times.
You run the risk of losing signal or battery if you’re using maps through your smartphone. If you’re travelling outside city limits, you depend on getting cell service wherever you are, which isn’t always possible.
You never run this risk with printed road maps. Whether you travel only within city limits or you travel to remote locations, make sure you keep the city's road map for your safety and just in case your phone battery dies on you.
Maps are great if you like to plan ahead. During road trips, especially lengthy drives, it is a good idea to have a route planned with the significant landmarks, water bodies, or cities you pass through.
With printed road maps, you can mark and jot down all the significant locations, rest stops, and even locate restaurants for you to take a break.
Does this surprise you? Let us break it down for you. You’re driving your car with your family, and as most children do, your children are playing and screaming from the backseat. You’re driving on the highway, waiting to take the next exit. Your map on your smartphone in front of you is reciting directions, but you’re unable to hear a word with all the commotion. You try to check the step-by-step directions, but you can’t do so because cars are zooming past you on the highway.
Sounds stressful, doesn’t it?
Now, with a printed road map, you can jot down the entire route on the map before your drive and take it out when necessary, avoiding any unnecessary distractions. If you’re driving with a passenger, they can help guide you with the pre-planned directions, making it safer and easier for everyone on the road.
How many times have you relied on GPS and circled the city looking for your destination? Despite digital maps' best effort to be accurate, it sometimes fails to point you in the right direction.
However, with printed maps, one needs to be aware of their surroundings to pinpoint their location on the map. You can make decisions on your feet with the entire map in front of your eyes.
Printed maps connect you to the real-world environment, and you're able to reach your destination much faster.
Remember when we were children, we would cycle around the entire neighbourhood and still be able to find our way home at the end of the day? We didn't have GPS, phones or even printed maps sometimes. All we had was the memory of our surroundings, which later helped us retrace our steps back home.
Now, however, we enter the destination address onto our maps and follow the robotic voice diligently till we reach our destination, barely paying close attention to our surroundings. This makes it harder to recall and retrace your steps because all you have are step-by-step instructions without any reference to the significant locations around you.
You need to pinpoint your location on the printed map, which makes you more aware of buildings, water bodies, restaurants, all of which are key elements to creating a mental map.
While GPS devices are innovative and helpful solutions, you may find yourself in a situation where you are unable to access digital maps. Mobile phones can run out of battery or freeze at the most crucial time, and having a road map stored away can really help you out of a pickle.
Printed and digital maps have advantages and disadvantages, making it difficult to assess which one is more useful.
Digital maps are easy to use because they are GPS enabled and can locate your location within no time. With voice assist attached to the latest GPS technology, it is even easier to use while travelling. Printed Maps, on the other hand, need prior knowledge of symbols and representations to fully understand the markings and locate your exact location on the map.
Printed Maps are restricted to the specific area based on the map's scale. However, with Digital Maps, you can access maps from different locations from your phone.
Digital Maps are free to use; most new phones come with the application inbuilt. One needs an internet connection to access the maps. One needs to buy printed maps from stores near them and does not require an internet connection. Printed Maps come in handy when you're travelling outside city limits or to areas with little or no internet connectivity.
You can buy paper road maps from any stationery store or bookstore near your location. You can also search for road maps of cities online with several vendors delivering printed maps to your doorstep.
There are five main elements to the basic paper road map. Newer versions may include additional signs, but let us start with the essential elements.
Compass Rose: This gives the reader the right perspective while reading the map, orienting them from east to west and north to south.
Index: This is an alphabetical list with the locations of cities, streets and landmarks. Next to each location, you will find a letter and/or number column and row location. These column and row locations correspond to the grid located on each map.
Grid: Columns are often lettered, and Rows are often numbered. Once you have located your destination on the map, you can chart your course.
Legend: The grid gives you information on what you might find on your way with symbols, and to decipher the signs, we use a Map's Key or a Legend. Every map has one, helping you understand what the signs on the maps represent.
Scale: This is the ratio of map distance to actual distance. It is included in all road maps, converting inches and centimetres to miles to give you an idea of how far locations are and how much time it would take to cover the distance.