Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Port Moody, BC, Canada.
Yes, with a GPS you don't really remember the route you drove. Anyone who used a GPS for this purpose knows it very well. Eventually, if you drive it enough, you will remember the route and be able to drive without a GPS. I don't see how is it a big deal. I'd rather follow an electronic device, than mess around with printing maps and looking at them while driving, and taking wrong turns, especially off road.
On a hike it is very different. First of all, there are not as many trails around as streets. Second, I find the terrain and landmarks quite distinctive (unless you're in a thick forest), as opposed to countless blocks of streets. Thirdly, you're moving much slower and have more time to process what you're actually doing. And last but not least, you already have a visual memory of the area in your head from looking at the topo maps and Google Earth at home. On trail GPS usually serves me as a means to find out how long more I have to go, as trails are often self guiding. Now off trail, that's when using a GPS really becomes fun. You get to think for yourself how to get from your location to your destination, and a GPS simply reveals the terrain around you. You make the choices where to go and how - your brain is fully involved here, way more than simply hiking on trail with or without a GPS. So let's talk about how hiking on trail affects our brains. After that we can discuss how using a calculator instead of doing manual calculations affects our brains. Then we can move onto cell phones and computers, and also how cars make people fat and unhealthy.