Why Print Maps at All in the Digital Age?

Arquivo em: Map Printing / March 6, 2018

digital maps

Digital maps aren’t better than tried-and-true paper… Or even navigational tips translated via cocktail napkin. In many arenas, printed maps prevail…

On-the-Fly: Tourist & Visitor Maps

Ever ask a gas station or restaurant attendant how to get somewhere, and get a laundry list of convoluted directions? Or engage with a phone app, which insists, ‘You have arrived…’ despite the fact your destination is nowhere in-sight, and is in-fact, hidden within another? Digital maps are often precise without being accurate. They leave out the ‘devil in the details’ that gets you there – information easily conveyed with paper tourist and visitor maps, offering friendly hints you won’t find on digital maps, such as: ‘Inconveniently located on Main Street, behind the Sweetwater Post Office.’

Hot-Footing It: Festival, Special Event, Shopping & Local Business Maps

For those finding their way on foot, a Tokyo study comparing the travel of paper map users to GPS map users discovered GPS users walked slower and farther, made more frequent stops (errors), and demonstrated poorer knowledge of terrain when asked to sketch a map after reaching their destination, finding it more difficult to get there than map-toting travelers. With a tiny, limited view, constantly-updating GPS maps draw more attention to the screen than the surrounding environment, complicating the travel process.

On the Road Again: State, County & City Maps

People also continue to rely on paper maps for planning long-distance trips, from routes to attractions and rest stops along the way. AAA, trusted source for all things travel and road-related, continues to offer TripTiks. Why, in the digital age, do they continue to offer the spiral-bound paper maps via mail order? AAA states, because ‘GPS signals get lost and phones die, but paper maps are forever reliable,’ noting people continue to seek out paper maps, which have guided generations of travelers without getting confused, stuck or running out of batteries.

Make Room: Public Transportation Maps

The Maryland Transit Administration, in addition to other public transportation networks nationwide, relies upon paper maps to take the mystery out of their system for passengers. The MTA, who services thousands of miles of routes including 4,600 bus stops and about 100 rail stations, provides these maps to give its customers the opportunity to see the bigger picture, and discover geographic relationships offering alternative routes of travel they may not have otherwise considered – options easily missed within the limited on-screen scope of digital maps. Providing a more leisurely perusal of routes, they are essential for those without internet access. MTA publishes multiple variations of maps, printing and distributing hundreds-of-thousands of maps per year , which are updated regularly, including a 28×34-inch two-sided, full-color, five-map reference including all routes, hours-of-operation, fares, contact information and how-to’s; a 17×17-inch replica of it large format systems map; medium format systems guide map; neighborhood maps; visitors guides; local, commuter and rail connection guides.

The Great, Wide Open: Park, Hiking, Walking & Biking Trail Maps

In tech-free zones, where Mother Nature rules and you cannot get an internet connection, GPS cannot find your location, your smartphone runs out of charge… Or you can’t stand to look at the darn thing… Paper maps are dependable, always giving you the means of finding another route, or retracing your steps, no matter how rugged or isolated the terrain. Paper maps are also more reliable. On the widely explored Appalachian Trail, though the trail site offers a digital map version it bluntly states: ‘While useful, this map is for general reference purposes only and not intended to replace the more comprehensive and accurate A.T. printed hiking maps.’

There’s more than one way to be a trailblazer in the digital era. Lead the way with the help of MapPrinter today.



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