Maps over apps, analogue route planning

4 comments

1 month 3 weeks ago

Maps are great (apart from not needing batteries or charging, you can spread them out to see a wide area without zooming out and losing detail), but "lose coverage on your mobile device" isn't really a problem with a tiny amount of planning, many apps allow you to download an area of map for offlne use.

1 month 3 weeks ago

> Maps don't freeze, crash or loose signal.

Right. As with any technology, maps can get damaged. Not everyone has enough knowledge to use them. They can easily outdate. They cannot contain all the details of POI (like contact details of shops / hotels / inns, etc).
They created by people and may also contain errors, which cannot be fixed by some good samaritan (like OSM, for example).

They have limitations, as any technology.

1 month 3 weeks ago

I like a good map, but I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss digital route planning or GPS devices:

Paper maps can quickly go out-of-date. Online maps can be outdated to, but most services (e.g. Google or OSM) are pretty quick to update. The OS maps sitting on my shelf won't ever be updated - until I buy the new one!

Digital services benefit from crowd wisdom. Planning a route is rarely just about getting from A to B, and often about finding an enjoyable (and safe) route. Online services often allow you to benefit from other people's route choices or preferred routes, through e.g. heatmaps or sharing specific routes. 

Although not perfect, GPS devices are pretty reliable. Map reading is a skill, and as with any skill mastering it takes time and practice. Until then, a human reading a map has a good chance of making a mistake too - and while a GPS device normally alerts you pretty soon that you've taken a wrong turn, it might take the human map reader longer to notice their error. 

Finally, even if you are perfectly competent at map reading, it is hard to argue that GPS navigation is faster and more convenient. Your GPS device is with you every step of the way, telling you where the next turn is. Getting out a map, checking your location, and checking your route takes time and is nigh on impossible to do whilst riding a bike, so you have to stop every time.

I'll freely admit I'm not the most adventurous cyclist, but I've done a few fairly remote rides and in every case I've had a stack of OS maps tucked at the bottom of my bag "just in case", but they remained untouched while I followed the route (that I had planned on Komoot) via my bike's GPS which worked flawlessly.

1 month 3 weeks ago

Q: Have we all but lost that love for paper maps?

A: No. Maps don't freeze, crash or loose signal. They just work. But my father was trained at the OS Land Survey School so I may be biased. The house and camper were both stuffed full of maps and I even remember being taught to do a 'star fix' (the joys of celestial navigation!)