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Letters: What GPS maps don't do

February 08, 2013

Re "In praise of maps that fold," Opinion, Feb. 3

Kudos to Simon Garfield and his love for paper maps. In addition to his keen observations about folding maps and their GPS cousins, consider that cellphone maps, while accurate and helpful in one's immediate environment, lack the big picture.

You know where you are in a pinpoint sense, but not where you are in the world. With a paper map, you start with the big picture and zoom in to your location; not so with a map app. Missing are landmarks, near and far, as well as a sense of cardinal directions, all key to establishing and maintaining orientation.

Many tourist attractions are finding that their guests prefer good old paper maps. Visitors stay more aware of the entire place in addition to their immediate location. These maps also spark social or family interaction, as group members point out locations, destinations and routes.

Wayne Hunt

Los Angeles


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