As I was driving back to my hotel tonight from the GEOINT conference in Nashville, a short five mile drive, I used my NIM-powered VZNavigator to find my way from the Opryland Hotel. And it dawned on me…PNDs are like spell checkers…they give you permission not to think.
Back in the day…I would prepare for this kind of short journey by using a paper map, look for street names and landmarks. Now, I just listen…rather, I’m told where to go. It’s like a spell checker; you don’t have to spell very well but that’s OK, your misspelled and sometimes horrible grammar get corrected. In this case, your navigation IQ can be amplified and generally you can "tune-out" to your environment. Such is the pity.
As we get more into connected nav devices and greater data streams allow for better navigation, we may (and I emphasize "may") lose local familiarity or the desire to navigate by landmarks. If you are looking for a business or other location and stop at a gas station, most locals will tell you to navigate by local landmarks…"Turn right at the McDonald’s and head toward the Big 10 Tire sign…it’ll be on your right…" or some such reference. I’d like to see if my next PND will navigate me by landmarks and POIs.