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Technology May Wipe Business Off The Map

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Technology may wipe business off the map

 

by Ted Roelofs | Gazette News Service

 

Monday January 21, 2008, 11:47 AM

GRAND RAPIDS -- You can still find them hanging in fire stations, city halls, schools, even floral shops: comforting, detailed, familiar guides from a fading world.

 

The paper map.

 

Unfortunately for Metro Graphic Arts, of Grand Rapids, they seem to be headed the way of the buggy whip and the typewriter.

The 62-year-old company expects to close its doors by the end of February, as it sells out the last of its street guides and wall maps. Too many customers are turning to digital GPS devices and Internet maps, instead of what Metro Graphic offers.

"It's been coming," said Sally Terrell, 60, office manager and a 29-year employee. She is one of just eight employees left, sitting in a front office surrounded by empty desks. "I've noticed in the last year that things were not all that great."

 

The closing folds a company founded by mapmaker Fred F. Johnson, . . .

 

Sad news, GREAT PUN!!!

Edited by eyerobic

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Unfortunately for Metro Graphic Arts, of Grand Rapids, they seem to be headed the way of the buggy whip and the typewriter.

My first map was a Fred F. Johnson... In 1976 I was 4 years old when my dad gave me his 1972 Fred F. Johnson map of Indianapolis (in Convenient Book Form). I started tracing our route to church and to grandma's house on that map... So this one's a little sentimental for me.

 

Chris

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"GPS is a great tool but they still like to be able to pull over and thumb through a map. I don't know what is going to happen. I'd like to think someone will pick it up."

 

This is the final quote from the story above.

 

What about it folks? I know we all have an affinity for historic maps as we search out abandoned alignments and such, but when you need or want to look something up on a current map, do you use digital or paper?

 

Personally, I have one of those large Road Atlases as well as an Indiana Gazetteer sitting right next to the computer. I'll dive for that long before I go to Google for a map, unless I need to zoom way in, say, on a street address of a business.

 

If I'm reading a travel magazine, I'll usually grab the atlas as well, because most travel mags haven't figured out how helpful it is to readers to include a small map of the area the article is about.

 

And of course, no trip is complete without my atlas. I've already seen and heard enough of a friend's TomTom to know that I do not need nor will I ever want want in my own vehicle. If I can't figure out how to get where I want to go by reading a map, I shouldn't be driving.

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I use Google and Live when I'm at the computer, but in the car I want paper, period.

Paper doesn't require rebooting! I can't count how many times my GPS stops responding...

 

I use a GPS mostly to record latitude/longitude for later geotagging (meaning when I stop the car to take some photos, I record the location on paper). I almost always know my route in my head and have paper maps along for that type of planning.

 

Chris

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Actually, you hit the one reason I might like to have a GPS -- to record the location where I took a photo. I have a digital voice recorder into which I say, "A bit north of the intersection of US 40 and 400 S" or whatever, but I'd like to be more accurate. I have visions of uploading my road photos to Flickr and precisely tagging them on the map there.

 

My old Nextel phone had GPS and could allegedly tell me my location, but I could never make it work. My current Sprint phone is not so feature-blessed.

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It is really a shame about the business. Small businesses are having such a hard time competing with the mega suppliers and the internet marketplace-- maybe it will resurface somehow. I'm one of the people that love using a paper map, I haven't played with GPS yet. I've read about it and had lots of people show off their new system but I just haven't felt the need to invest in it. Just something about having that tangible paper in hand. Ideal I imagine would be to have both as one or the other would be more advantageous at times. My biggest beef is delivery people like Fed Ex relying on the online maps and then arguing with you when its wrong?!?!?!?!? Excuse me but the road or building is where it is regardless of where the mapping program puts it. DUH! :blink: java script:emoticon(':blink:',%20'smid_7')

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It's almost all electronic maps and GPS for me. I usually have a paper atlas tucked away in the car but it's a 1999 edition and I can't remember the last time I untucked it. In planning, I do refer to paper maps of an appropriate age but I'd be just as happy to look at those on a screen (ala KtSotR's Historic Road Maps) as to hold the aging paper in my hand.

 

So, it's obvious that I haven't been contributing to the income of folks like Fred Johnson. Even that nine year old atlas was given to me when it was a couple of years old. But I wonder if all the paper touting folks have been contributing all that much, either. My experience with confirmed map toters is that the map they're toting is likely to be nearly as old as my atlas and may even be older. It's unveiling may even be accompanied with some small boasts about how long and how far its owner has hauled it around. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think doing that is kind of cool but it's not for me.

 

Maybe every paper devotee in this thread buys a new atlas every year or so and knows that the preceding paragraph was about somebody else. I'm just saying that using paper maps is not necessarily the same as supporting the map industry.

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