The ability to look at a smart phone and get directions to a destination is something we now take for granted. But the benefit of digital technology can also be its downfall, such as when you cannot get a signal or your battery goes flat. That’s why it’s essential when you are planning a road trip to also pack printed maps.
Paper maps are still the best way to see the big picture — and the detail — of any trip. Digital technology has yet to replicate the size and detail included on paper maps. You can compare different routes simultaneously, examine topography, analyse types of road surfaces and determine the best places to stop along the way. Once you’ve determined your route, you can always enter it into your digital mapping tool and use the print version as back-up.
Research has also shown that most people trust paper maps more than digital. This is partly due to the fear of the technology not working and also because we’ve all experienced the digital commands sending us the wrong way up a one-way street, or into a cow paddock instead of to a major highway.
Many people print their Google Map search results to use when touring, so they don’t need to use their smartphones. There’s also something to be said for the feeling you get when you trace your finger over a map of Australia, to either plan ahead or reminisce about previous trips. Putting a map on the wall of your garage or rumpus room, with your trips highlighted in marker pen to remind you of your adventures, is also good for the soul.
So don’t discard your printed maps. You never know when you’ll need them and they make a great legacy to pass onto your kids to remind them of the good old days.