Your brain - Maps versus Sat.nav.

Discussion in 'Media Links' started by cathyjc, Dec 17, 2019.

  1. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

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  2. Foxster

    Foxster Section Hiker

    It's been known for quite a while that using a NatNav reduces your ability to re-do the route without one the next time. You just don't use your grey cells in a way that lays down a pattern.

    Kinda similar to how people who take a lot of photos have a poorer memory of events, like holidays, than those who just live in the moment.
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  3. Taz38

    Taz38 Thru Hiker

    I've gone back to using a paper map with OS on my phone as backup. it just happened after doing a stretch of Pennine Way just using the OS A-Z and preferring it. The phone is a great addition and backup, aso tells you where you are when you get really lost...which never happens of course :whistling:
    The gps unit has sat in the draw for some time now, probably because its a pig to use compared to my phone.

    Its nice using a paper map instead of just following an arrow/dot.
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  4. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Much like me. - except I missed out the GPS stage.:D
    Paper map plus a phone with OS locate for those Oooophs moments!! :oops:, and an Inreach mini for communications when out of mobile reception.
  5. OwenM

    OwenM Section Hiker

    I much prefer paper maps but I do have a Garmin GPS and VR on the phone. I think I've only once preplanned a route into the GPS, far to much faff. I do like the "Goto" feature though and often use that rather than the compass.
    I use VR as back up mostly in summer or when in Scandinavia. I don't want to pay for Garmin maps.
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  6. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    Printed maps;
    Nicer to use/much bigger screen/cheaper/need no batteries or a powerbank/don't ruin your brain (as much).

    I do use GPS nav in the hills, but very rarely.

    TBH, I think the best thing for the mind is naving without either until needed.

    Navigation by common sense; mentally ticking off features as you go makes you much more aware of your surroundings and 'in tune'. Subtleties like the colour of grass, the angle of shadows, the feel of the slope, the sound of the water in the beck, footprints, etc are not marked on either maps or GPS....they can get you a long way without so much as a glance at them.

    I remember an interview with a Sami herder who had never used a map or GPS. Someone gave him a map and GPS and he started getting lost; he threw the maps away after a while and went back to the old ways, which was navigation by common sense/memory/descriptive names of hills. The GPS was kept though, as he could bury food and find it quicker.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
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  7. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    I've barely looked at a printed map in a decade; each to their own.
    I couldn't remember anything back then either....
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  8. craige

    craige Thru Hiker

    I primarily use my phone. I usually have both and only really use the map at night when looking over the following days route these days. Forgot the map in October and only missed it when trying to show my companion route options on the phone.
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  9. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    But then IT and use thereof is your profession…….
  10. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    It is?
    I forgot.
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  11. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    Agree with Teepee too; an affinity with landscape translates into your determining where a line 'should' be. It's not always right but works for me most of the time. Most.
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  12. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    And when you've "lost" the path, heading for where "the line should be" often reveals the afore mentioned lost path …..
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  13. benp1

    benp1 Trail Blazer

    I use GPS to navigate on my bike regularly. Plot a route at home and then follow it

    But walking I use my GPS as a map or have a paper map, or both depending on the situation. Also have phone. Use them for nav but don't use them to direct me, if that makes sense
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  14. Charlie83

    Charlie83 Section Hiker

    Same, managed a TGO, CWT and a wad of other trails without a map.

    I actually love looking at maps, I've got my whole office wall papered with Scotland, do a lot of my planning on it, but never carry one, no real need imo. The old and bold seem to get a bit excited when I mention it.

    Haven't got the ****** to mention I dont carry a compass either
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  15. Michael_x

    Michael_x Section Hiker

    Intresting prog, thanks. Did come across as memory/map v turn-by-turn direction rather than being paper v electronic map. Which is good.

    I love maps. I become immersed, be it on my phone, or laptop, or paper. Most walks I've memorised my route in advance and studied a range of options before I even head out.

    Always amazes me how after decades I still underestimate what the squiggly brown bunched up lines mean until I find myself staring up, or down, a vertical slab of rock. Maybe if my phone said "turn left at the next cairn then abseil 35 metres straight down"...
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  16. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Ultralighter

    I love printed maps for many reasons. Printed paper has its own aesthetic; this goes for books v kindle as well. More practically, because a paper map shows you a whole area not just a line, you get a much better sense of what's around you (or should be around you) not just where you are and where you're going. And for route planning, it has to be a map; see the area and the possibilities.

    However, I do use a GPS for following a preplanned route when on the bike.

    As for being better for the brain, I probably spend too much time in front a computer screen to have much of that left anyway. Now, where was I going?
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  17. paul

    paul Thru Hiker

    Paths are like motorways they are so eroded these days or even paved. When they run out i follow sheep trails as they seem elite a to b beasties. When all else fails I get the phone out. Following my nose seems to work most of the time. I like a paper map for planning though.
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  18. Daymoth

    Daymoth Section Hiker

    Really? I take lots if photos BECAUSE of my rubish memory. Now im curious about this phenomenon!
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  19. Foxster

    Foxster Section Hiker

    There's been quite a bit about this online. Here's one: but a bit of Googling will show more.

    My personal take on it:

    Snapping a lot does mean you get to take away images that you can review later to refresh a poor personal memory system. However, it can also mean that you lay down less memories at the time and there is much more to a memory than a visual image. There's the sounds, the smells and how your were feeling about the location and the others there. All this may not be laid down in your memory if you were concentrating on the photography.

    One suggestion I read is to just take a couple of snaps, as opposed to lots of carefully executed photographs. This means that you spend most of your time in the moment but have a few pictures to evoke your memories of the experience later.

    Of course, this assumes your reason for being somewhere is for the experience and to create memories of it. If instead you just love photography and/or want to produce lots of pictures to show off to others then snap away. But be wary of the Millenials' attitude of wanting to online their lives, such as posting pictures of their dinner instead of engaging with their friends over a meal.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2019
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  20. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

  21. Taz38

    Taz38 Thru Hiker

    I do take a fair few snaps to help keep trip memories alive, but I get what you mean about focusing on your surroundings instead of just looking through a lens (or looking at a screen to follow the arrow/red line as I found myself doing too much).
    I also like listening to music while out and that brings back trip memories when played back home.
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  22. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Ultralighter

    For me that would work the other way round; the music would distract from the surroundings, particularly if through headphones. It's good to have some music in a sitting round a campfire with friends, food and beer situation, but not (for me) while actually 'out there'. But certainly everyone reacts differently to these things.
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  23. Diddi

    Diddi Thru Hiker

    Pretty much the same as @Charlie83 as i never carry a compass.
    Always carry a map but its never used and if lost i quickly revert to phone for position then onwards again.
    I plan the routes, escape routes, water sources, paths and features all in my head for about a weekbefore a trip.
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  24. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    I always carry one...but a tiddler Suunto Clipper - I find myself mostly using it to navigate out of towns; and for crude bearings; it lives on a pack strap.
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  25. Foxster

    Foxster Section Hiker

    That's where I'm at too.

    However, I find those little compasses (and I do have a Suunto Clipper amongst others) tend to have little leeway in angle of use i.e. the needle easily gets stuck. I have a little ball-type one hanging on my pack now as it works at any angle.
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