“The map is not the territory” is a famous comment from semanticist Alfred Korzybski that reminds us we can’t tell from a map what we’re going to find in the actual place. But a good map is a godsend and sometimes even a friend who keeps us honest and out of trouble. In this age of GPS and Map Quest, Google Maps, and Yahoo! Maps, however, some people don’t know a good map when they see one. And now it appears that AAA Northern California is laying off its cartographers either to save money or because it feels the online competition is too stiff. Well, John Flinn in the San Francisco Chronicle has a few things to say about that.

Filed Under Travel


2 Responses to “Where Have the Maps Gone?”

  1. David Stanley on August 26th, 2008 2:19 pm

    Newspapers, magazines, printed travel guidebooks - they’re all feeling the heat of competition from the internet. Google maps are great, but I agree with Flinn that there’s no substitute for a high quality paper map. And what you can print out for free from the web isn’t at all as good as an AAA road map.

    While we’re on the subject of maps, I have a funny story from the days when I was the author of Lonely Planet’s Eastern Europe on a Shoestring. The security-conscious Soviet Union used to include deliberate mistakes in their street maps, to confound potential invaders I suppose. In preparing the maps for the guidebook, it was always a real chore trying to identify the disinformation in Soviet and some Eastern European maps. Virtually every map of Moscow would lead you into blind alleys!

  2. Janelle on September 2nd, 2008 5:43 pm

    I love a good map, and always think of Joey Tribbiani from Friends who had to “get inside the map” of London to really understand it. But fortunately, National Geographic Magazin has a great Map of the Day feature on their website:


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