Archive for the ‘Maps’ Category

(Over) Dependency on technology and gadgets

December 7, 2006

Michael Parekh writes on the assumptions about gadgets or technology and why it may not necessarily help all the time. He writes:

I’ll admit that in recent years, I’ve become probably overly dependent on GPS technologies while driving and blindly trust the “shortest route” offered.

That brings up one thing which I always wonder, i.e: As technology becomes more handy and affordable, we tend to forget the older ways of doing things. Today, when someone offers us the directions we say that we feel that why take the hassel of writing it down, instead we just take the address and say we’ll google it up or Yahoo! it. We are right in a way because, we think that it is convenient for both.

My friend who had come from India for short duration had rented a car that had GPS, since that was his first exposure to US driving, for him only way to reach his destination was through GPS, if some one gave directions, he insisted that he wanted the “address” only not directions. In essense, he could not really translate the directions people give into driving. Once it lead to a funny moment when the other person who was trying to give him directions told him that he’d rather just accompany him rather than search and give him address (because he did not know the exact address and the destination they were looking for was just couple of blocks away) .

While I was growing up in India, no one used maps, if you are going to some place in rural area, all you knew was the village name, some fork points (e.g: left after “15”th mile/km stone or right just before a some temple etc). Then you depended on cowherds, who are always try to be helpful (whether they know or not, they’ll suggest you something ;-). It was also true that you’d have to open up conversation with those cowherds or person who is giving the direction on whom you are visiting and what purpose. It looks very offending now, but it is pretty normal for people to ask where and why kind of questions. Also, they’d give out some information about the person you are visiting, which may be useful for you 😉

When I came to US in 1992, I had hard time understanding the directions someone gives (stay to your left on the exit ramp, take the left in the exit fork, go north of some road etc), first of all I was new to the accent and also to Highway system, secondly north/south is strange because some stretch of the highway that says north and south actually was running east to west. But slowly I got used to the directions, then came web, where just provide address for point a and b, voila, you got the direction. Now, the GPS, where in you are relived of even looking up in the web. What I really wonder is for the next generation… will it be that they’d (majority) forget the basics of map reading? Hope I am wrong !!