Ask the Best and Brightest: Are Map Pockets the New Glovebox?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Jay writes:

I just came to a realization while sitting at my desk at work (slow Friday before a 3-day weekend). It’s now 2009 and everyone (except me it seems) has a GPS stuck to their windshield. I still have my Rand McNally Road Atlas from 1998 in the map pocket of my 2006 Fusion. My question is, if no one buys maps anymore and everyone seems to have a GPS, why does almost every car made today still have map pockets on the backs of the seats? And if they are there for a reason, why do we still call them map pockets?

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Oct 12, 2009

    I keep a strap-on visor extension in there. My sun visors will only block sun from the side if you're short enough to have the seat all the way forward. It seems on most trucks you can extend or adjust the visor; why not on the Mazda3? I have no GPS or MP3 player, so I'm still using maps and CDs. I keep a selection of maps in the trunk, as I don't use them often and I plan any trips out ahead of time.

  • ZekeToronto ZekeToronto on Oct 13, 2009

    John Holt wrote: Ask somebody to meet you somewhere. Then when they arrive, take their GPS away, and tell them to get home. Nope, wouldn't be a problem. I have a good memory for maps--probably from staring at them so much as a kid. Before I leave for an unfamiliar destination I take a look at the route on Google maps on the iPhone and I rarely have to refer to it again before I arrive. And I'm pretty sure I've never, ever had to use it for a return trip. Even when I go back to a city I haven't been to in years--I can usually find my way around without needing a map again. I'm sort of straddling the GPS debate. I'd never pay for an in-dash unit that'll be obsolete long before the car is ... and I hate the portable systems that suction cup to the windshield and spit out turn-by-turn directions. On the other hand, I like having the orientation functionality (and location-dependent apps) in my phone. But it's the Google maps themselves that are the real win for me ... searchable maps for everywhere in my pocket ... no clutter in my car.

  • B-Rad B-Rad on Oct 13, 2009

    I don't use the pockets behind the seats, but my door map pockets are both full. I'm 19 and don't like using GPS thingies. I normally plan my route before heading out somewhere new, maybe jot down some directions in case I forget, and then I'm good. I don't even pull my maps out that much but I've got one for everywhere I might go.

  • Martin Albright Martin Albright on Oct 14, 2009

    Sorry, but the underlying premise of your article (that GPS will replace maps) is incorrect. GPS will no more replace maps than computers will replace books. What GPS units replace are the collections of scribbled directions people used to use to find someplace. Maps are still valuable for a number of reasons (not the least of which is that they work fine without electricity.) My GPS is a relatively ancient (2005) handheld unit that doesn't have the usual turn-by-turn type navigation anyway. A GPS complements a map, it doesn't replace it.