Friday, May 19, 2006

Hic Sunt Dracones (Here Be Dragons),

In today's Times Online, Ben MacIntire wrote an excellent article about how GPS is changing the world. While I don't agree with everything in the article, he raises some interesting points. Here are two quotes...
"But above all, I resent [GPS] because [it is] gradually killing off maps, the charts that have revealed the changing contours of our world and minds since the birth of culture. English mapmakers once placed the phrase Hic sunt dracones, “Here be dragons”, on maps to mark the edges of the known world. [GIS] has slain what few dragons remained. With a GPS embedded in dashboard, wristwatch or mobile telephone, we will never be lost again."

"The paper map will soon die, and with it something central to human experience. There is a joy is not knowing exactly where you are. The electronic gizmo takes you from A to Z, but it does not show you the place you never knew about, off at the side of the map, the road lestraveleded. The joy of exploration lies in not knowing exactly where you are, or where you are going, in trying to match the visual world outside with the one-dimensional world represented by the map. Wherever you go now, the machine has got there first."

via Times Online