The Waning Demand For Paper-Based Maps

Most individuals with smartphones can easily download satellite-based navigation maps to assist them with directions when travelling particularly in a strange place. This technological innovation has affected the demand for paper maps that used to be a traditional tool for travellers. In Arkansas, the state’s Highway and Transportation Department has recently announced that it is cutting its annual production of paper maps by a half or 500,000 that will be updated every 2 years instead of yearly.

Arkansas has bowed down to the reality that people now prefer digital maps instead of the usual paper maps particularly since out of the 1 million maps that were printed last 2014, about 300,000 pieces were still left. The state’s geographic information system and mapping section is sad about the developments but technology has certainly overtaken the art of looking at a paper-generated map.

Printed versions of the Arkansas’s paper-based maps include detailed country maps, city maps, route maps and maps that give people an indication of traffic volumes. These maps are computer-generated and can be accessed through the department’s website or through state tourism centers around Arkansas. Paper maps are often part of a tourist’s vacation travel kit to help motorists.

A decade ago, demand for paper-based maps was so great that out of 1.4 million printed copies, only about 30,000 were left. There were an unusual number of requests from schools. Motorists were also given their individual copy to aid a survey done by contractors. In 2011, which was the banner year of the paper-based maps, only 50,000 copies were left from the 1 million that was printed because residents of the state scrambled to get their hands on information on detours around high waters. GPS certainly will not tell if there is flooding in a certain area.

Maps have certainly played a big role in motorist’s lives throughout the years. Another type of map that has gained favorable attention is Illustrated Maps that was quite popular for cities, campuses, parks and resorts. Unlike traditional paper-based maps that provided directions, Illustrated Maps gave people a more interesting and exciting option because of its detailed topographic information.

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