‘A Rough Guide of Our Surroundings on a Scrap of Paper’

Writing for the Courier-Mail, Kathleen Noonan conflates map literacy with the ability to draw your own map. Responding to the tendency to go to an online map and print something out instead of sketching a quick map on a napkin or something, she writes, “What is happening to our senses? Can we not put a rough guide of our surroundings on a scrap of paper?” She then goes on to connect this with the ability to read a map, which I just don’t buy. That’s separate from the paper-vs.-pixels debate. Maybe not the best segue in an essay that’s actually all over the map, if you’ll pardon the expression. Via GeoCarta.

Personally, I think that if people print out a map from MapQuest or Google Maps, it’s not because they’re cartographically illiterate, it’s because it’s easier and they get a better, more accurate map — it’s not their geographic literacy that’s at issue, but their draftmanship.