Object 3: Google Maps
June 2, 2021
With the rise of new technology and development, we no longer ask “where are we?” when we travel, instead unconsciously ignoring our surroundings and limiting ourselves to them. All that matters to us is how to get from one point to the other.
The screenshot of a route from London to Lisbon is a real example of this argument. Let’s say I wanted to go on a car journey from London, point A and Lisbon, point B. The digital map will find the most efficient route. If I just focused on the route itself, I would not gain awareness of several sights and locations which would be interesting to discover and would make that journey a true cultural experience.
When the digital map identifies your location, it will give you points of interest in your journey. This can include restaurants, museums or even points relevant to your taste. They have allowed for a level of personalization which enables you to explore the world based on your preferences, tastes, and interests. But isn’t one of the main purposes of travel to not make it about ourselves,
even to lose ourselves in the joy of finding the other? Of finding ways living which are different to ours?
I think this is what makes this object so fascinating and paradoxical at the same time. They allow us to get around smoothly but at the same time by doing all the work for you, they restrict our capacity to ask questions on our surroundings and actively search for answers. The knowledge of the world around us is what is within the technology. There is something very powerful discovering the world when we allow to lose ourselves in the experience of travel, to simply ask “where are we” and to ask other individuals to help us based on their own human experience of their surroundings.
Roos, David. 2021. “7 Ways the Printing Press Changed the World”.HISTORY. https://www.history.com/news/printing-press-renaissance.
Zelazko, Alicja. 2021. “astrolabe | Definition, History, & Facts”. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/astrolabe-instrument.
McMullan, Thomas. 2021. “How digital maps are changing the way we understand our
world”.the Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/dec/02/how-digital-maps-changing-the-way-we-