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Fold-up road maps: Nostalgia or utility?

Do you like to travel with an old-fashioned paper map, the kind that gas stations used to hand out for free, the one you could never fold back up right once you had unfolded it?

With many people using electronic devices to find their way around – built-in navigation systems, hand-held GPS units, map apps in cell phones – there’s less demand for paper maps than there was a decade ago.

But some people still like them for their simplicity, for their retro feel, for not having to worry about being thrown off by an electronic glitch.

“Simpler times are something everyone yearns for. And maybe looking at a map takes you back,” Kevin Nursick, spokesman for Connecticut’s transportation department, told the Associated Press.  “The technology is neat, but on a personal level, there’s a sense of nostalgia when you look at the paper map. A lot of people are yearning for simpler times.”

But cost is causing many state transportation departments to cut down on the number of maps they make, while gas stations, which once handed maps out for free, now offer only a few for sale – if any. So if you want an old-fashioned map, it may take some searching on your part.

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