It’s August.. time for a “people can’t read a map” story

This is actually quite funny, maybe I have discovered a method of telling the time of year from the stories in the press.

This time last year, I was sitting in the studio’s of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, about to do a piece about how terrible Satellite Navigation was, and how PND’s are a threat to the continued existence of western civilisation.

Sitting next to John Humphrys is a bit scary, but he is actually a nice chap, anyway the nation was saved my defence of SatNav by the “Map Supporter” of the debate, the editor of Walking  Magazine in the UK getting lost on the way to the Radio Studio !!

So this year we have this story in the Daily Mail, reporting on some research carried out by a car insurance company, which suggests people had difficulty recognising obscure map symbols on a OS Road Map.  

Map Symbols

So what is the concern here.. I doubt actually that people could ever recognise this symbols in the first place, PND’s and in-car SatNavs have not made people less map literate, they were never map literate in this way in the first place.

Most people use a map to plan routes, from place A to B not something you need and awareness of the fact that green shading represents mud! 

Fewer people carrying maps in their cars, is a result not only on the increased use of satellite navigation, but also the use of online route planning tools like Google maps, which are often more up to date that road atlases. People also no longer carry extensive tool kits and spare parts in their cars as they would have once done.

We must remember that SatNavs are not perfect, but in almost all cases, contain the same information as road atlases, but presented in a more useable way and with the massive advantage of knowing where you are !!.

Congratulations to the insurance company for recognising the opportunity of the August quite time for the news, they won’t be getting my custom I’m afraid, but lets look forward to next Augusts story. 

Written and submitted from the SAS Radisson Hotel, Stockholm, using the free hotel WiFi

11 replies on “It’s August.. time for a “people can’t read a map” story”

Number 2 is a motorway…number 5 is public convenience…number 7 is a church and number 9 is a church with a spire. I am not sure about the rest.

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