The New Yorker writes about the “the science of driving directions.”
Navigation is big business these days. Web sites that offer maps and directions, such as MapQuest and Google Earth, are growing more sophisticated; global-positioning satellite technology and the in-car navigation systems that rely on it, such as General Motorss OnStar and Hertzs NeverLost, are becoming ubiquitous. Geographic Information Systems, or G.I.S., may be the plastics of our time. Its not hard to envision the demise of the paper road map, in a generation or two, because a map, for all its charms, is really a smorgasbord of chance information, most of it useless. Who cares where Buffalo is, if youre trying to get to Coxsackie? Most people just want to be told where to turn.