Garmin has, apparently, released a study showing that a staggering amount of people are utterly unable to read a paper map. While I cannot find the actual research from Garmin, several websites (like this and this) have reported that more than one third (39%) of people surveyed did not know how to navigate using a ‘traditional’ map and need guided step-by-step directions. One in 10 (16%) said they relied heavily on a GPS device of some kind and nearly half of the people surveyed (40%) said they never updated their GPS devices.
Unsurprisingly, the same study reported that about 40% of people wouldn’t openly admit when they get lost due to embarrassment, and nearly a third refuse to seek help or ask for directions. The study indicated that men are more likely than women to refuse to seek help (27% more to be exact) and that arguments over driving directions is a lot more common than you might think–roughly 33% said they regularly had arguments with their partner about directions.
Now, since I cannot locate the original article (and, therefore the date and other important info) I am not really sure how many people Garmin surveyed or what nationality they were, etc, so these statistics should be taken with a grain of salt. Some of the articles I found citing the survey indicated that the survey was in the UK (with dramatic titles indicating that ‘Brits’ couldn’t read maps), but not all of them. Regardless as to whether these statistics are relevant for just the UK or worldwide, the results are still staggering especially when you consider how unreliable GPS can be in congested cities with outdated maps. It makes me wonder how they function in today’s world. What’s the point of traveling anywhere if you don’t enjoy the trip?