We gladly use automated technology (e.g., smart devices) to extend our hard working minds. But what if such technology turns into mind crutches we cannot do without? Understanding how varying levels of automation in mobile maps might impact navigation performance and spatial knowledge acquisition will provide important insights for the ongoing debate on the potentially detrimental effects of using navigation systems on human spatial cognition. We need to identify the right balance between system automation (support) and user autonomy (self-reliance). Preliminary results of a pilot study performed within a novel empirical framework indicate that it is possible to increase user autonomy and spatial knowledge acquisition without negatively impacting navigation performance and usefulness of the system.