Friday, October 08, 2010

Another voice against satnav .

So, it is just not me then! Yesterday in the Independent newspaper, regular columnist Brian Viner wrote about map-reading, passers-by and satnav...

I know octogenarians who speak of their satnavs at least as fondly as they speak of their grandchildren. For many drivers, GPS has become more indispensable than the radio, and only fractionally less than the steering wheel. But not for me. Even a couple of my writer friends who still use typewriters have satnav systems in their cars, but my equivalent of their battered Olivettis is the 2007 AA Road Atlas of Great Britain.

Why have a disembodied voice telling you to turn right in 500 yards when you can reach the same conclusion by reading a map, or alternatively by asking an old man with a dog? Obviously there's an answer to that: GPS enthusiasts cite ease and convenience. But I'm not entirely comfortable with a culture that increasingly throttles the need for personal initiative. Moroever, I have, through my car window, met some very nice old men with dogs.

...Oh yes, I am of the old school. I am not a fan of satnav and like a lot of other people refer to them as pratnav! Navigation is a basic simple life skill and people who use satnav are blind to this. Once you develop the skill to read and understand maps, you have it for life, just like the ability to swim. Reading maps and signposts is not difficult and primary school children should be able to do it. People who use satnav leave their common sense and awareness back at home. They do not think where they are going but act like a robot which also leads to poor driving standards. I do not need an expensive electronic gadget to navigate my way around. I don't have to keep buying maps either, just put streetmap into my browser and look at an excellent map free-of-charge. If it is a really difficult journey I can even print pages off for nothing! Like Brian writes there are "some very nice old men with dogs" and I am sure that I can offer some good guidance when I am approached whilst walking Barney!
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