The end of paper maps

The Times predicts the end of paper maps:

[GPS is] gradually killing off maps, the charts that have revealed the changing contours of our world and minds since the birth of culture. English mapmakers once placed the phrase Hic sunt dracones, “Here be dragons”, on maps to mark the edges of the known world. Charlene [the GPS] has slain what few dragons remained. With a GPS embedded in dashboard, wristwatch or mobile telephone, we will never be lost again.
Apart from the fact that cartographers never actually did put "here be dragons" on maps, I don't think our London correspondent is right. There's no way that paper maps will disappear. Did the horse disappear with the invention of the automobile? No, it exists alongside the car, although certainly its purpose changed.

The paper map is just too darned useful; it's light, needs no electricity, and is interoperable across systems and cultures. How many times have you printed out a digital map? I rest my case.

1 comment:

the Robot Vegetable said...

Agreed. Until I have smart paper, I can't get away from dumb paper.