Reading the map: opportunities and challenges of technology in the outdoors
Technology can enhance our lives, but something is lost as well. And relying too much on technological solutions can actually be dangerous, especially with outdoor recreation.
Take maps, for instance. Orienteering, the art and science of traveling by map and compass, used to be an indispensable skill for any outdoorsperson. But GPS has nearly eliminated it from the toolbox of most people venturing outdoors these days. I am amazed by how many people I see out hiking who don’t even bother with a good topographical map, let alone knowing how to read it or use a compass.
But GPS can be a false security. As Nick Davies concludes in his essay about “How a ‘smart countryside’ can use technology for greener ends” in The Conversation, “Navigating solely with a mobile phone or GPS cannot substitute map-reading skills when faced with difficulties.” The real world too often poses challenges and dangers that satellite technology cannot help with. Technology can bring new opportunities, but adequate skills and years of experience are the safest approach to enjoying the outdoors.
[Daily post 025 of 260 in my year-long challenge.] ♨