Millions of millennials have NEVER read a paper map, it has emerged.
Researchers who carried out a detailed study found a decade of ground-breaking tech innovation has all but ended traditional map-reading among the much maligned 23 to 38 age group.
The results show millennials use their mobile phone map on average five times a month – or at least once a week.
And six in 10 admitted they always ‘rely’ on their mobile map when going somewhere new.
In day-to-day life, more than one quarter of under-39s find themselves ‘very reliant’ on digital maps, showing how much they have grown dependent on technology.
In contrast, those aged 39 and above only seek help from their mobile phone map twice a month.
More than two thirds put this down to digital maps being more accessible while half believe younger generations are not being taught how to read maps as ‘everyone relies on technology today’.
A further 53 per cent of millennials admitted they would ‘struggle’ to find their way somewhere without their mobile phone.
Overall 15 per cent of millennials said they had never read an old-style paper map.
The study, commissioned by Ordnance Survey, in line with National Map Reading Week, also found only 18 per cent of millennials feel ‘very confident’ using a paper map, compared to 44 per cent of the over 38s.
National Map Reading Week aims to encourage people to understand the importance of map reading, whether paper or digital, to help them stay safe when exploring Great Britain.
Nick Giles, managing director of Ordnance Survey Leisure, said:
“Digital mapping, through apps and websites, has transformed the way in which we navigate. “Everyday millions of people use digital mapping to get from A to B often just following a dot on a screen. “Many people believe that they can read digital maps but there is so much more to explore beyond a mobile phone screen. “Technology is great, and we are seeing year on year how apps like OS Maps are inspiring and enabling millions of people to get outside. “However, we have all experienced tech fails, whether batteries dying or signal issues, and this is where paper maps can be an essential backup. “Through National Map Reading Week we want to encourage people to better understand how good map skills, both paper and digital, can unlock and inspire people to safely discover new places and adventures.”
The research, of 1,000 millennials and 1,000 adults aged 39 and above, also found that the younger generation would like to see coffee shops, bars and free attractions added to traditional maps.
And one quarter of all of those polled would like to see cash points and free parking spaces added.
According to six in 10 over 38s, map reading is a skill people should have and 41 per cent of them ‘worry’ that people are growing up without basic navigational skills.
However, this isn’t a worry to seven in 10 millennials – but one in five admitted they wish they were better at reading maps.
Younger Brits also use technology to give directions – one in 10 said they would show someone a map or an image on their phone in order to help, while over 39s opt for using street names.
But despite their love for digital maps, three in 10 have got lost or gone in the wrong direction when using one, according to the OnePoll study.
“National Map Reading Week provides the perfect opportunity for everyone to either learn, or brush up on, their map reading skills. “We want everyone to use maps to their full potential, from helping to discover new walking routes and giving better directions, to finding hidden landmarks and most importantly using a map effectively.” ”For several years OS has advised users of GPS devices, mapping apps and other technology to ensure that they also carry a paper map when out and about in rural areas.” For more information on National Map Reading Week visit os.uk/nmrw. The website includes resources for all ages such as tips and advice for map reading.