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Transportation

Is Sat-Nav Destroying Local Knowledge? 519

Hugh Pickens writes "Joe Moran writes in the BBC News Magazine that Sat-Nav clearly suits an era in which 'map-reading may be going the way of obsolete skills like calligraphy and roof-thatching.' Sat-Nav 'speaks to our contemporary anxieties and preoccupations about the road,' writes Moran. 'More roads and better cars mean we can travel further, and so the risk of getting lost is all the greater.' But do real men use sat-nav? Moran says that men seem to recoil from being given digital instructions by a woman, and read the satnav woman's pregnant pauses, or her curt phrases like 'make a legal U-turn' and 'recalculating the route', as stubborn or bossy. Still we don't quite trust the electronic voice to get us where we want to go. 'Since before even the arrival of the car, people have worried that maps sever us from real places, render the world untouchable, reduce it to a bare outline of Cartesian lines and intersections,' writes Moran. 'Sat-nav feeds into this long-held fear that the cold-blooded modern world is destroying local knowledge, that roads no longer lead to real places but around and through them.'"

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