PAPER VS. DIGITAL Why we shouldn’t completely let go of a paper map

PAPER VS. DIGITAL Why we shouldn’t completely let go of a paper map

Waze, Google Maps, … They all have about the same function: show us the (fastest) way. And you can simply consult them via your smartphone, you don’t need anything else to navigate? Well, you might be wrong there. A paper or static card can also be very useful! We understand that you don’t immediately believe us, but there is really a good reason for it.

Profound and superficial geographic knowledge

Cognitive researchers distinguish two types of knowledge: in-depth knowledge and superficial knowledge. It is therefore very logical that experts have more in-depth knowledge of a certain subject (eg geography) and that this knowledge is rather superficial for laymen. Neither of the two can be labeled as good or bad, because it simply depends on whether you are experiencing the problem or not. Digital interfaces are perfect for acquiring superficial knowledge; such as the question, “How do I get from work in Antwerp to a meeting in Wijgmaal, an environment I have never been to?” You enter it in Waze and follow the road that is indicated. Simple and clear, this does not require much in-depth knowledge

In-depth knowledge (of geography) can help you to better understand a culture and the history of a city. That’s why you often see people with a 100% booklet with a map walking around when you are traveling, perhaps you are one of those people yourself. And that is more than okay, because static maps help you to gain in-depth knowledge faster and more efficiently.

People who read something on paper are generally better at comprehension than people who read the same on a screen.

Het is dan ook wetenschappelijk bewezen dat mensen die iets lezen op papier in het algemeen beter zijn in begrijpend lezen dan mensen die hetzelfde lezen op een scherm. Uit een onderzoek van 2013 is dan ook gebleken dat mensen die een betere kennis hebben van geografie, een statische kaart verkiezen boven een dynamische.

What to do with our navigation apps?

This of course does not mean that we have to ban Google Maps from our smartphone en masse, because a good digital map is of course still better than a bad static map. With a static map, it is perhaps more likely that it is already slightly outdated, while most dynamic maps often receive updates, making them slightly more accurate. But believe us, that is not always the case. The accuracy of dynamic maps naturally depends entirely on the details and fact-finding of the company that makes them. A study in 2012, for example, showed that Google Maps localized companies up to 89%, whereas Apple Maps only 74% localized.

But which of the two is the best? Unfortunately, we don’t really have one answer to that. We would better adjust our title to “Dynamic map ft. static card ”, because they both serve better, depending on the goal you have in mind. And if you have a digital goal, you will surely know where to find us! Because our experts are more than happy to help you.