Link – Better Directions – via John Banning
…the most powerful maps can actually make it easier to get lost. Dazzled by their features – immersed in topographic information and GPS coordinates – we forget just to look around. In his book Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris, A. J. Liebling blamed a decline in French cuisine, starting in the 1920s, on the Michelin Guide. Prior to its publication, he argued, anyone brave enough to open a restaurant had to face the scrutiny of repeat customers. With the advent of this book, however, day-trippers would blithely follow its recommendations – once, and they’d never return. The fact that you can now download Michelin’s Paris guide to a PDA would probably have horrified Liebling. ChicagoCrime.org should worry any urban planner looking to revitalize a historic district. That’s the SimCity trap, emphasizing spatial relationships over more intimate, human considerations.
I used to carry a Pocket PC and a GPS CF card everywhere I went so I could tell exactly where I was but no longer. The excitement of just driving around and discovering new things has become lost as we’ve optimized our lives to make our travel as quick as possible. Give me a AAA road map and I’ll map out my route myself with a highlighter rather than let Google or Yahoo! decide what route I should go. Believe me, the scenery outside the car is much more enjoyable than a printout for your ink-jet.