Geografie 2020, 125, 447-472

Falling into a digital world: how are paper and interactive maps used by digital natives and immigrants?

Katarzyna Słomska-PrzechID, Izabela Małgorzata GołębiowskaID

University of Warsaw, Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, Department of Geoinformatics, Cartography and Remote Sensing, Warsaw, Poland

Received August 2019
Accepted March 2020

Interactive maps are increasingly popular and have spread into everyday life. However, the pace of implementation of interactive maps may differ within different age groups. In order to adjust maps to user expectations and preferences, it is necessary to study disparities in attitude towards different types of maps in groups of various users. The aims of the study are to find out if the approach to maps of different media varies among age groups, and whether the frequency of use of interactive maps and their functions decreases with the age of users. A survey focusing on habits and preferences towards digital and paper maps was conducted among 80 users aged 20–72. Results suggest that the polarization of answers is lower than suggested by the Prensky theory of digital immigrants and natives: people of all ages who were tested have a lot in common in terms of interactive map use. Nonetheless, the youngest group has a strong preference for interactive maps.


The proofreading of the manuscript was financed by the mikrogrant (financial resources for maintaining and developing research potential) of the Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies.


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