It's easy enough to Google drive mapping and find lists of pros and cons.
In our situation, using DFSR, we were advised to map drive letters to the shares by GPO.
This is working.
One advantage I see to mapping the shares to drive letters is that the users should have an easier time finding them and referring to them
If we want to change the underlying sharenames, we can replace the GPO that points shares to drive letters.
(I realize that using DFSR, this is already a capability).
But, we have some reasons for not addressing through the DFSR namespaces.
This raises the question:
Using a GPO, can drive mapping be avoided by using some other method in a GPO?
I don't see how - so I suspect the answer is "no".
For example, if one can set up addressing "N:\" then is there another way?
I don't think I care whether UNC is used or not. I've found very few cases where drive letters were solely required for addressing.
I can remember back in the day I would call a batch file via GPO that manually removed and re-added the network shares via:
Open in new window
Not sure if that's what you're looking for.