Being a child of the Sixties meant that I grew up with a minimum of technology. Radios were crackly things, TVs were monochrome affairs with valves, cars ran on 5-star 101-octane leaded petrol. Not much changed when the Seventies arrived - OK, so radios got transistors, TVs got colour and 5-star juice was banned, but we still had no computers, no internet, no GPS.
Navigating in the hills was a test of ability and self-confidence. Armed with just an O.S. map, a sighting compass and an inkling of the magnetic declination it was possible, on a good day, to be able to triangulate a position to an accuracy of about 10 yards. It was enough, and I never got misplaced (until years later when I went walking with a new ice-axe that hadn't been de-magged and which affected the compass-needle more than I'd have thought possible).
The Eighties came and went with no major improvements to hill-nav. New maps, perhaps, but not much more.
In the Nineties there was rumour of something called GPS but it was all tech-speak and military back then.
The Noughties saw the start of the change. Commercial GPS receivers started to become available to folk who didn't drive a Harrier VTOL to work. Just like mobile phones, they started off big and expensive, and gradually slimmed down to something that you could both afford and carry without a back-up crew. GPS was wonderful, occasionally it was as accurate as the old map & compass method, but at least it worked without visual references. The downside was power - if your device ran out you were stuffed if you didn't have a back-up plan. At this point I should perhaps mention that I started to use a Garmin Geko - a basic and functional bit of kit, perfect for my needs. I still carried maps and a compass, though. Just in case.
Internet, GPS and mobile phone technologies eventually slept together and spawned a whole variety of eejut-proof devices that would run GPS routines on things called "apps" (or "programs" if you had a Windows-based phone). With these, you could find out where you were, where you'd been and where you were trying to get to, you could have this served up on a map in "real-time", you could check the weather forecast and choose to ignore it, and you could phone home to tell your loved ones that you wouldn't be home in time for your kippers and Ovaltine.
During this period of enlightenment I upped the stakes and used an O2 Orbit phone, a Windows-based thing that would run Memory-Map software. It was an excellent bit of kit which served me well for several years until I changed my service-provider and got myself an HTC Wildfire. For a while now I've been using an app called "MMTracker" which does pretty much all that Memory-Map ever did, so it wasn't much of a change for me.
Even so, none of these hand-held devices (not even the map and compass) ever pin-pointed my position as precisely as is possible with today's web-based technology. Recently, a friend alerted me to a free service that provides fantastically-accurate positioning, and when I say accurate, I mean it - we're talking sub-metre stuff here.
I must say that I'm really impressed with it. If you want to give it a try, start here.