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What’s in your glove compartment?
September 29, 2010
When the vague “paperless world” conversation pops up, I think that most people think of the paperless office, less newsprint, smaller magazines, Internet distribution of immediate information, etc. And these things aren’t Future World – they are Here And Now.
A recent trip made me realize, though, that there is one printed product that is disappearing completely before our eyes – road maps! Although I thought he was crazy, my husband bought and “extra” Garmin a couple years ago to take on trips. As I was packing, I threw it in the suitcase. When I rented a car I had the option to rent a GPS device, and I was unreasonably proud of myself when I could save that incremental expense by having my own. The nice lady at the rental car counter gave me their local area map which I took and used it to scribble notes on.
From that point on, I punched every address that I needed to find into the GPS. At one point there was an address that I couldn’t find and my passenger pulled out her cell phone with turn-by-turn directions on the GPS app on her phone. One day I drove 180 miles to another city, visited two or three locations there, and returned to my original location – the only map I ever looked at was the digital one on my trusty Garmin. The only time I pulled the map out was to read the notes with the addresses I had to find. I asked the concierge at the hotel for a different route to one location because of an accident on the highway and she printed out a Google map showing the No Highway route.
When I was a kid the best way to get the good seat in the car on a road trip was to learn how to be a good map reader to justify riding shotgun in the crowded car. We had maps in the glove compartment for Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, and a Rand McNally road atlas at the house. All the smart people had AAA memberships to get the Triptiks – your route mapped out on large scale map sheets spiral bound in a book so you could see the detail of the area you were driving through. Now all you need to do is alter the zoom ratio on your GPS.
I looked – my glove compartment has three manuals in it: One for the mechanical aspects of the car, one for the electronics available in the car (including the GPS) and one for the communication system in the car (including the Bluetooth phone hook up and Satellite radio functions). No maps.