1930s answer to GPS


Found this on Bored Panda, in a round-up of cool, wacky inventions from the past. Apparently the paper-roll map advanced based on the speed of the car. But wait, what happened when you turned onto a new street? You’d have to have quite the library of map-scrolls stashed in your car, and be doing a lot of scroll-swappin’ At least the idea was pointing in the right direction.

18 Cool Inventions From the Past

4 thoughts on “1930s answer to GPS

  1. Porter says:

    Thought I’d chime in to let you know… the rolling map shown in your photos was designed for Rally (the motorsport), to show the co-driver the upcoming turns, obstacles, and any applicable pace notes. The map was tied to the car’s odometer so that it automatically advanced with the motion of the car.

    Similar “rolling map” systems are still used today on motorcycles (in non-competition contexts) though they don’t typically include the auto-advance.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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