Ode To The Gazetteer

Maine Atlas And Gazetteer

I’m putting the our final schedule for 2011 together this morning. This includes crunching dates on a calendar as well as flipping through the Maine Atlas And Gazetteer. The pages of my current copy are loaded with notes, campsite reviews and landmarks that I’ve added. Flipping through it and seeing the notes is a trip down memory lane.

My kids will grow up using Google earth and other online mapping software. I use it as well; it’s amazing and simple to use. But for me there is something about the experience of sitting down with a paper copy of the Gazetter and planning out routes that isn’t matched by the digital experience.  Even more so when that paper has travelled extensively and been filled with notes. My kids will likely not share my nostalgia for paper maps, but to me It’s like a conversation with an old friend.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • I too have a love affair with maps. When I was a kid I constantly drew maps of my room, house, yard, woods, whatever. I also had (and still have) a world atlas that my Grandma gave me that I would pour over for hours on end. I had an intern at work that swore by his GPS and mocked my use of the Iowa Gazetteer to get around. Then on three consecutive trips he had to come to me because his GPS led us place where roads didn’t exist, or went the wrong direction, now he carries a map and compass daily.

    My oldest (she’s 3) on the other end of the spectrum, loves maps like her old man. She draws squiggly lines on paper and calls them treasure maps. She also has an affinity for globes and road maps. Maybe there is hope for paper maps then?

  • I hope paper maps survive. Or at least that they keep printing the Gazetter. My son (6) likes looking at them, but the lure of all things electronic is pulling at the younger generation like none before. Thanks for writing.

  • Greg Averill

    I too enjoy paper maps to GPS. I get a feeling of exploration and discovery from using a paper map before a trip. I’ve had friends hike with me who live by GPS. They seemed to spend most of their time staring at an electronic screen rather than observing the natural beauty and signs around them.



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