Monday, April 29, 2013

The letter X

"X marks the spot."

I think we all have heard that expression.   I think back to childhood days and watching cartoons with characters looking for hidden treasures.  The map they used would always show a big bold X on it to show where the treasure was to be found.  

So today my X blog is about maps... and the fact that they are becoming obsolete.  (I know it's a stretch on the X letter. It's a tough letter. I don't think I will write about xylaphones.)  

Until the invention of the GPS, maps were essential for everyone.   Whether you were on a road or interstate, or walking around a new city, or even visiting an amusement park... we all had maps.   Rand-McNally was the king of maps back then.  I wonder how they are doing now.   Before any vacation our family would buy maps to get us there, and we would plan the trip ahead of time with it.  We studied them for the quickest route or for a way to detour a big city.  

Until about 5 years ago I still relied on them.  But, as it often happens, my daughter (a part of the younger generation) asked for a Garmin GPS for Christmas.  Santa obliged - and I discovered how wonderful they were!!   Very easy to program - and that nice lady talked my daughter through the way, giving ample warning of a turn ahead, and telling her to the minute when she would arrive at her destination!

So, I bought one. I plugged it into my car for every long trip I made.  It gave me choices:  Only interstates?  Fastest route? Alternate ways?  Gas stations & fast food?   Thankfully I didn't need it for trips around town!  Then I got an Iphone - and downloaded a GPS app right on to it.  

I still carry a couple of old-time maps in my car.  I haven't been able to go completely paper-free.  What if the GPS failed?  And, to tell you the truth., I still like the idea of unfolding one, and looking at the "whole picture" - and putting my X on my destination.  

1 comment:

  1. I have a terrible sense of direction so I really appreciate my GPS! I do still love the feel of a map and often pull out the Atlas on long car rides. I like to see all the little place names and points of interest. You don't get that on Garmin unless you ask.