Recycled Maps in a Digital Age

As we immerse ourselves into a digital age, with satellite navigation systems in our cars, and GPS mobile phone tracking in the palm of our hands, how much time do we have until paper maps and atlases become obsolete, in favour of their digital version?From an environmental standpoint, digital maps may be a positive change, with a reduction in paper when printed maps are not longer required, lessening the strain on our diminishing forests. Will, however, the fascination of atlases in particular be lost in future generations? World maps filled with mystical discovery of far flung places, filling our minds with adventure, and appreciation at the sheer size of our planet. Will school children’s fascination with fantasy ‘pirate’ treasure maps, be lost as paper maps cease to exist for future generations?We are taught to read maps from a young age, which are appreciated, and understood by the majority of the worlds’ population, regardless of language.Historically, modern paper maps became increasingly popular, and accurate, around the 16th to 18th century, however, with the introduction of GIS (Geographic information systems) in the 1970s and 1980s, cartography (the art and science of making maps) has changed forever. Our earth, our countries, our cities and roads, are mapped, stored, and analyzed in digital format.We could hold into our paper maps, giving us reason to rediscover our past world at a later time, although it is expected that many outdated maps will be banished to landfill over the coming decades. Perhaps a better way to preserve our paper maps while we still have an abundant of them, might be to create a product which contains their existing material, but is upcycled into an attractive artistic piece to admire.Such ideas include making art pieces from unwanted atlases, drink coasters from discarded maps from a favourite holiday destination, using recycled maps to make an origami bowl, a recycled map bunting to decorate your room, how about a wintery Christmas map wreath, or revamping an old desk or furniture piece with decoupaged recycled atlases.What is the beauty of using old maps in craft projects? They tell a story, serve as an attractive piece of art, and from an environmental point of view, reusing paper maps for decorative purposes, gives Mother Nature the nod!One does wonder if we will also lose our sense of direction in our digital future, when paper maps are gone?