New research suggests that map reading is a dying skill in the age of the smartphone. Perish the thought, says Rob Cowen
Despite the gendered overtones of the article (that it’s important for men to learn to read a map), this is some good advice, regardless of gender. The vocabulary and concepts of maps can strengthen spatial cognition and geography awareness. While GPS technology can help us in a pinch, relying primarily on a system that does not engage our navigation skills will weaken our ability to perform these functions. While it intuitively makes sense, that the ‘mental muscles’ would atrophy when not used, it is a reminder that an overuse of geospatial technologies can be intellectually counterproductive. So break out a trusty ol’ map, but more importantly, be a part of the spatial decision-making process.