Although basic map skills are often not taught in school, this is unfortunate because using maps to find one’s location and get directions is an essential part of living in American society. Everywhere a person looks, our nation’s landscape is crisscrossed with roads, streets, and highways and these are being added by the day. In order to get to any location in a reasonable amount of time, using maps is necessary. There are several reasons to carry and use a map.
First, people may need to use maps because they are going somewhere that is unfamiliar to them. In the past, most people rarely strayed very far from home, making maps unnecessary for most people. However, this is no longer the case. Our modern society is incredibly mobile, and most of the population makes trips outside their immediate town or city at least once a year. Navigating and finding a specific location in a strange place requires both good directions and accurate maps, both of which are offered for free by mapping websites.
Second, our cities and towns have become much larger and more complex. While in the past a person might have been familiar with most or all areas of their hometown, this is no longer the case in the majority of people. Towns are large enough now that even long time residents may not be familiar with many neighborhoods, and they are developing so quickly that no one could keep up with the new additions. Cities are so enormous that even lifelong residents sometimes need directions. This increased population leads to a need for accurate and up to date maps, even to navigate one’s own neighborhood.
Third, maps are necessary because the world is no longer as safe as it was in the past. While getting lost in an unfamiliar place may once have felt like a fun and unexpected detour, the world we live in is now a much more dangerous place. People who are lost, even for just a few minutes, run a high risk of being the victims of violent crime. There is no good reason to put yourself and your family into this dangerous situation, especially not when a variety of mapping websites offer maps and driving directions for free and are available from any computer or mobile device.
The last reason to use maps is that they save money and time. Gas prices are now so high that even the wealthy cannot afford to waste fuel driving in circles, even for a few blocks. It is imperative for most people that they get from point A to point B with the least possible fuel expenditure. Time is also in short supply in our modern society. Any time spent driving in circles is time that could be spent with one’s family or doing one’s favorite hobbies. There is little time left after work and travel for the things that are really important to us, so we need to conserve every possible second. Maps make this possible.
Maps are important in our modern world for a variety of reasons. This is why it is such a benefit to have the variety of websites available that we currently enjoy. As our society and our geography become more complicated, it is easy to predict that maps will have a position of increasing importance in our lives.