The Taiwanese and their maps

That’s easy - they’re incapable of giving you directions, they have to show you. Ask a Taiwanese friend to pick you up on the southwest corner of Zhongxiao East Road and Fuxing South Road, and you’ll be met with bewildered looks 9 times out of 10. :stuck_out_tongue:

That’s easy - they’re incapable of giving you directions, they have to show you. Ask a Taiwanese friend to pick you up on the southwest corner of Zhongxiao East Road and Fuxing South Road, and you’ll be met with bewildered looks 9 times out of 10. :p[/quote]

Tee hee, I also enjoy from time to time giving a Chinese person a map and asking them to point to where their house is. Hours of fun.

Notice the way the map books have no visual grid index and do not follow on geographically page by page ? Ever noticed how they’re arranged by the name of the administrative area ?

What did these guys do during their military service ? Does the Taiwanese army use maps ?

Just the same in China.

I find maps in China more readily available and more useful than in Taiwan.

As my wife says - referring to her first marriage - we had a car for 16 years and never had a map - so I say - so you could never go anywhere that someone else could not tell you about or lead you - she says yes and seems to think this is very normal.

I get in so much trouble wanting a map.

[quote=“Riain”]I find maps in China more readily available and more useful than in Taiwan.

As my wife says - referring to her first marriage - we had a car for 16 years and never had a map - so I say - so you could never go anywhere that someone else could not tell you about or lead you - she says yes and seems to think this is very normal.

I get in so much trouble wanting a map.[/quote]
I don’t think any Chinese people really learn to use maps. My wife and her family have lived in HK for 26 years. They still can’t find things with a map. Everything to them is a series of MTR stops. They can’t tell you where those MTR stops are in relation to anything other than another (nearby) MTR stop or the places they’ve been in the island of territory around that MTR station. When describing the location of a place, they never use highly technical words such as “north,” “south,” “east,” or “west.” :unamused:

Every time we go to a new place, my wife insists on asking the attendant in the MTR ticket booth about how to find the place. No matter how long the line is, she refuses to look at the detailed, properly oriented maps that can be found in every MTR station in HK. As for the points on a compass, the only thing that the average university graduate in HK can tell you is that Luohu is at the far north (actually, they’ll say “top”) of the HKSAR and that HK island is south of Kowloon. Anything else, and they are completely fucking clueless.

I must say, though, that my wife has been getting better at using maps to find places when she takes a bus or we go hiking. I’ve started to make her do all the orienteering. She was amazed at how well a compass functions the first time I showed her how to use one. Her uneducated parents told her not to carry it in her pocket or hold it too close to her body when she uses it, though. The reason? Cancer, of course.

This is all good for Taiwan, though. I have no doubt in my mind that if all of the lights in Taiwan are turned out at night, not one PRC pilot will be able to find his target. They’ll probably be too afraid that GPS or any of the navigation instruments in their planes will cause cancer, etc. to use them.

I’s not just that they can’t read maps. There aren’t maps for huge tracts of Taiwan – not at any sensible scale. This is why people install television sets in the portion of the dashboard intended for a GPS system, I suppose – no proper maps, paper or online.

Has anyone used a GPS system here? Do they work at all?

One reason people don’t use maps is because they can’t use a gazetteer, ie look up the name of a place. That’s for the same reason they’re not comfortable using Chinese dictionaries or indeed any basic reference materials that have an index.

The use of Pinyin would solve some of these problems but of course we can’t have that.

I try to look on the bright side. If I ever want to get rid of my wife, all I have to do is drive her two kilometers away from the house, and leave her on a street corner without any money :wink: The sad part is that I wouldn’t even have to blindfold her.

i find all this a bit incongruous considering every bookstore has a large rack of maps on offer, with every convenience store having a selection as well…

And lines are painted on the roads, but do people actually drive in one lane?

And lines are painted on the roads, but do people actually drive in one lane?[/quote]

Yeah but the lines on the road are not for sale…

[quote=“smithsgj”]I’s not just that they can’t read maps. There aren’t maps for huge tracts of Taiwan – not at any sensible scale…[/quote]What scale do you want? The Formosa Road Atlas does a reasonable job at 1:50,000.
forumosa.com/3/viewtopic.php?p=123444#123444)

If you want bigger then look through all the posts on this thread:
[Topographic Maps of Taiwan

[quote=“smithsgj”]One reason people don’t use maps is because they can’t use a gazetteer, ie look up the name of a place. That’s for the same reason they’re not comfortable using Chinese dictionaries or indeed any basic reference materials that have an index.[/quote]Not so. Both the Formosa Road Atlas and my cheapie one-volume 1:100,000 road map have gazeteer-type lists at the back. The former has 16 large pages of it.

I don’t really get your point about dictionaries. It can’t be that difficult to look up characters can it? AFAIK it’s based on the radical and then the number of strokes; surely people get quick at doing that?

On the general point, my subjective impression is that map and geographical awareness seems to be on the increase. And regarding city direction-finding, the majority of people I know would have no problem finding the intersection of two streets, although using compass directions for the specific corner as in Maoman’s example might be more tricky.

Well for hiking you really need 1:25k and for satellite navigation much larger than that, and it’s not 100% clear from the linked threads what the coverage at these large scales is.

But I didn’t know about the Road Atlas (indeed much more than a road atlas given its large scale and its Chinese name), so stand corrected. I’ll have to get hold of a copy. 2004 as well so obviously bang up to date.

On looking things up, though, I didn’t mean maps don’t have indexes, I meant that ppl don’t use them. They’re not really familiar with the concept of “looking things up” and generally just leaf through till they find what they want, in my subjective experience. There are different ways of ordering things (north to south, big to small, number of strokes in radical then number of strokes in rest of character [dictionary order], number of strokes in total character as opposed to no. strokes in radical), so people don’t know what to expect. And when they figure it out, the system is usually too complicated to bother with.

Taiwanese and Chinese ppl don’t normally use Chinese to English paper dictionaries, I suppose for this reason. Indeed, some Taiwanese (eg a friend of mine with a masters from the uk) aren’t even aware that such dictionaries exist!

And for the same reason, Chinese non-fiction/academic books usually don’t have an index.

So no I don’t think ppl get quick at looking stuff up. They just don’t bother.

The GPS maps here are EXTRAORDINARILY detailed. Even the tiny lane my in-laws live on is on the GPS map I have used!

1:25,000 is available – see this post and the one below;
[forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopic.ph … 735#194735](Topographic Maps of Taiwan

[quote=“smithsgj”]But I didn’t know about the Road Atlas (indeed much more than a road atlas given its large scale and its Chinese name), so stand corrected. I’ll have to get hold of a copy. 2004 as well so obviously bang up to date.[/quote]They’re lovely books but quite expensive. As I noted in the other thread they’re fine for public roads but not so good for farm tracks and trails.

Doesn’t the term “drawing maps” (hua ditu) also slang for spooging on your sheets? No wonder nobody wants to touch 'em!

Smithgj wrote:

I’m not sure if your talking about handheld GPS or the in-car affairs.
I use a handheld in the mountains for backtracking so I dont get lost and it’s usually accurate to 15ft. However it is difficult to obtain detailed enough maps for topographical use and position fixing.
I know the in-car affairs are excellent and very accurate.

[quote=“Dangermouse”]
I use a handheld in the mountains for backtracking so I don’t get lost and it’s usually accurate to 15ft. However it is difficult to obtain detailed enough maps for topographical use and position fixing.[/quote]
For a Taiwanese company, Garmin’s maps of Taiwan are lousy. Actually they are lame anywhere outside of North America and Europe. The Magellan maps are much better :wink:
Too bad you cannot load those auto nav maps to a regular handheld :frowning: Bloody Garmin and their proprietory map formats :raspberry: An iPaq solution would be about the best thing out there right now.