I don't know what it is. I spent a LOT of time wandering around being lost until I began using the hoe to make straight paths away from the starting altar in cardinal directions. Now I'm really starting to get a handle of where I am on the continent.
It just feels much more immersive without the satellite view. It's like I actually have to explore instead of just uncovering the map. So far I've found the coastline, a river, black forest, and even a mountain range. But still haven't been able to find Eikthyr's altar. Ha! But it's fun trying!
If you have the patience for it, I highly recommend it. Not sure how well it will hold up once I get portals, but finding stuff the merchant is probably going to be hell. XD I don't even know how the hell I'm going to find the elder. Black forest can be MASSIVE.