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Are fold-out maps obsolete? Not if you want to understand your destination
As I'm planning my trip to Ethiopia I've been studying a 1:2500000 scale map from Cartographia that measures 65x85 cm, or 26x33 inches. Try getting that field of view from a computer screen or mobile phone! Seeing the country as a whole with all its details in one view gives you a better perspective. You begin to notice things.
For example, why does Ethiopia have that big spike for an eastern border? My map shows a string of oases all the way up to the eastern point of the frontier with Somalia, drawn in blue like a series of water droplets on the tan and pale green backdrop of desert and scrub land. A network of caravan routes crisscrosses the space between them. That's why Ethiopia holds onto a region with a majority Somali population. The caravan routes are of no interest to someone in a car, so you won't find them on the GPS. My fold-out map also shows the habitats of important wildlife and even the shipping lanes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
Fold-out maps give you a deeper understanding of the country and are things of beauty. They also have the advantage that they still work if the power goes out or if you lose the signal, a common occurrence in some of the places I go, and they're far less likely to get stolen.
There's no doubt that GPS, Mapquest, and Google Maps are efficient ways to get you from Point A to Point B, but real travel isn't about getting from Point A to Point B.
And that's a fact no amount of technology will ever change.