Even with the rise of technology and increasing popularity of GPS devices from Garmin and TomTom, officials still say that an appreciation exists for road maps, and some companies have seen an increase in production over the last few years.
As reported in an Associated Press article, National Geographic has sold more paper maps in the last three years than it has since launching its maps division in 1915. Charlie Regan, head of the maps department, said specifically that sales of international maps have remained consistent and sales of recreational hiking maps are on the rise.
“It’s almost like a golden age in mapping,” Regan said. “More people than ever before in history are using maps every day. For me, that’s fantastic, and it’s an opportunity.”
Kevin Nursick, spokesman for Connecticut’s transportation department, explained how maps are more beneficial over GPS’s in that they will never suffer from dead batteries or unreliable service connections.
Chris Turner, a map collector from Indiana agreed, and said that he doesn’t believe that paper maps will ever become obsolete. With a map, he said, you can still trace your own route and aren’t bound by “the GPS lady.” If you have a map, you’re armed with the right knowledge to stray away from the suggested path.
Delaware, for example, has experienced an increase in maps printing by about 100,000, a jump that officials attribute to individuals visiting beach areas and a renewed real estate interest.
With paper maps refusing to follow the path of pay phones and phone books, companies that print the still-popular item would greatly benefit from investing in proper lamination equipment to help ensure the maps’ longevity. In addition, custom presentation binders can aid in combining maps covering similar areas together to create a more organized appearance.