Google Maps

Above: Google Maps turn-by-turn visual display. Credit: Google Developer press image.

Cognitive City

Pedestrians using smartphone maps to navigate around the city (i.e., turn-by-turn systems such as Google Maps or Apple Maps) are no longer required to memorize and inculcate the city through active mental processes--each individual mentally mapping the city. This decline of the city as personalized-subjectivized and internalized is is an impoverishment of daily life. The person who has instilled aspects of city into their memory self-constructs the city and takes the city with him wherever he goes--in this way the city becomes a part of his personality; he is deeply connected to it (CD: 75). It is getting to the point that many are bewildered and disorientated without access to their phone-based map service (CP: 10). The technology of GPS-based (turn-by-turn) visual maps is yet another format of disempowerment and control: the tech companies encourage our reliance on map information services which as it happens they also control and own. For the mobile-phone-user, once facile-to-define geographic-positional parameters are now blurring or merging: inside/outside, and particularly near/far. Reality is becoming, "not just apparent as before, but transparent, or to be even more precise, trans-apparent (PI: 7)."