Many of us have had the acquaintance of accession in an alien city and defective to get to a specific destination – whether it’s blockage in at a hotel, affair a friend at a local brewery, or abyssal to a affair on time.

With a few clicks of the smartphone, the destination is inputted into a abyssal app, with customized route preferences to avoid traffic, tolls and, in cities like San Francisco, even inclines. Anxiety abated, one drives to one’s destination via voice prompts and the casual adulterous glance at the consistently afterlight map.

But, after having accustomed safely, there is the vague acquaintance that we don’t know how we got there. We can’t bethink the landmarks along the way and after our handheld device, absolutely couldn’t get back to our origin point. That raises the larger question: Are the abyssal capacities of our smartphones making us worse navigators?

Research points to yes. But, given the beyond of these devices, as well as their adeptness to enable accurate groups, conceivably we should learn to embrace them as a abstruse prosthetic.

Worse at award our way

All cultures convenance wayfinding – analysis one’s ambiance for barriers to travel, then abyssal spatially to a remote destination.

Geographers (like myself), psychologists, anthropologists and neurologists have all advised how individuals cross from point A to point B. In a battleground 1975 paper, psychologists Alexander Siegel and Sheldon White argued that people cross via their ability of landmarks adjoin a larger landscape. New abyssal routes are apparent via the bond of accustomed landmarks with new ones.

For example, Inuit people, faced with snowy, topographically compatible landscapes, are alert to subtle cues like snowdrift shape and wind direction. Until the advent of GPS devices, those cultures had no cultural apperception of the idea of being lost.

Research has accustomed that mobile abyssal devices, such the GPS anchored in one’s smartphone, make us less accomplished wayfinders. Mobile interfaces leave users less spatially aggressive than either concrete movement or static maps. Handheld abyssal accessories have been linked to lower spatial cognition, poorer wayfinding skills and bargain ecology awareness.

People are less likely to bethink a route when they use guided navigation. After their device, approved GPS users take longer to accommodate a route, travel more slowly and make larger abyssal errors.

While concrete aeronautics and static maps crave assurance with the concrete environment, guided aeronautics enables disengagement.