When friends say they're going to Paris I make them promise to get a Plan de Paris, which is a pocket-sized book of little maps and one big, huge fold-out map which you never use because it makes you look like a befuddled tourist and it's really hard to fold back into the little book. But the Arrondissement maps and Plan are essential. If you have them, you'll understand where you are and where you're going. If you don't, not so much. My point is this-it's just not true that we don't need or use maps anymore.
The GPS on your phone will solve one problem at a time, but it cheats you out of a real sense of orientation. You look at more maps than you think you do. The hip map of the day making the rounds on the internet shows the countries of the world with a color guide to how much drinking goes on in each one. And, it's not labeled so you really have to know which one is Norway, which one is Kazakhstan.
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- Michael Blanding is a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, and author of The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World's Favorite Soft Drink, and most recently, The Map Thief, out in June and available for pre-order online
- Hiawatha Bray is a journalist for the Boston Globe and the author of You Are Here: From the Compass to GPS, the History and Future of How We Find Ourselves
- Robert Dahn is a Professional Land Surveyor and a partner with Meehan & Goodin in Manchester. He is a past president and current Legislative Liaison of the Connecticut Association of Land Surveyors. Bob also served as the president of the National Society of Professional Surveyors and completed a ten year tenure on the NSPS Board of Directors in April.