Maps Are Important

I don’t have a GPS in my head, but I wish I did.

I take life for granted because I have my phone. I just assume that the phone knows where I need to go and that it can get me there.

Last week proved to me that I need a map. While listening to scanner reports, I wish I had had a map on me because as well as I know Willimantic, I think it may be impossible to know all of the streets and where they are.

I wish I could memorize a map, but that skill has eluded me all of my life.

Thankfully, the photographer with me had a paper map. One that we used consistently for over three hours.

Unlike a phone, paper maps don’t lose battery, overheat or fail. You can either read the map or not.

I joke about it now, but on Tuesday of last week, I wasn’t joking. I have several maps on my desk that are just sitting there.

As I’m writing this, I’m surprised I haven’t heeded my own advice and put those maps in my car yet.

This post isn’t to make light of cell phones and how crucial they have become to journalism. This post is more to remind us of the simplicity of the common map. They are usually free in town halls and available for everyone.

The problem?

We just forget about them. As a reporter, I should know better, or, at least, I think I should.

My co-worker Louisa, lives by maps. She doesn’t have a smart phone as most do, so she uses “regular” maps to guide her. She doesn’t even think twice about it.

As I said before, I’ve taken maps for granted. I never thought that I’d ever be saying this. To be honest, I never really thought twice about using a regular map.  That must sound awful, but I’m being honest.

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve learned my lesson. The shootout and subsequent manhunt taught me not to rely on my phone for everything  Of course, I need it to make calls and such, but when it comes to needing directions in a crunch, I now know better.

I’m confident that, by writing this post, I think I can change the way I “work.”

I’m going to make that effort.

We’ll have to see what happens.

Jonathan

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