Category Archives: The Value of Maps

Print Maps Give you the Big Picture-There’s Nothing like It Online

Williams & Heintz Map won a Q Award from the Printing and Graphics Association Mid-Atlantic, (PGAMA) for printing one of Hedberg Maps. The American Higher Education Map shows the location of every university and college in the country.

Williams & Heintz Map won a 2017 Q Award from the Printing and Graphics Association Mid-Atlantic, (PGAMA) for printing Tom Hedberg’s College Map. The American Higher Education Map shows the location of every university and college in the country.

I love reading about maps in the news, especially printed maps. So, I was pleased to see this article in the Star Tribune about Tom Hedberg: Who needs GPS and Google? Minneapolis map publisher is ‘master of cartography’.

s article starts out with a great example of  Tom Hedberg’s creative and useful maps.

Sure, your phone is a great navigation tool.

But can it show you all of the dog-friendly breweries in the Twin Cities? The location, times and what’s playing for the Music & Movies program in Minneapolis parks? Or display at a glance where every college, minor-league ballpark or airport in the country is located?

You can have that information at your fingertips thanks to a Minneapolis man named Tom Hedberg.

 At a time when we increasingly rely on GPS to tell us our place in the world, Hedberg is still doing navigation the old-fashioned way — making maps, not apps.

Maps, as you may recall, are big pieces of paper, often folded in a complicated accordion pattern, that everyone used to keep in the glove boxes of their car.

Earlier this year, Williams & Heintz Map won a Q Award from the Printing and Graphics Association Mid-Atlantic, (PGAMA) for printing one of Hedberg Maps. The American Higher Education Map shows the location of every university and college in the country.

The Star Tribune article includes a quote from Sue Luse, an Eagan-based consultant to students planning college applications.

“I haven’t found anything else like it online, I give them to every single one of my clients.”


Thank you Tom Hedberg, for choosing Williams & Heintz to print your maps so that we can win prizes! Definitely read the article if you are into maps. It go into detail about the changing business of maps, as GPS and google grab up market share. Like me,

Hedberg is optimistic. He likens his maps to LP records, saying they won’t completely disappear because they’ll always appeal to a niche audience.

That’s partly because paper maps won’t break or run out of batteries. They can unfold to a view of the world more expansive than the screen of even the largest cellphone.

“Paper is a really good hard-copy backup,” said Andy Mickel, a Minneapolis software developer who buys Hedberg paper maps and atlases. “Sometimes it’s good to stare at the big picture.”

What is a Map? Maps Provide the Big Picture

What is a map?

A map is a way to present information on music, history, science, and the arts in new ways.  A map is a tool that helps you make connections between different places; to connect the dots.

What is a map?

A map is Like the International Map Industry Association: IMIA is all about the business of maps.  IMIA helps you make connections between different people in the map business.

What is a map?

A map is about how to make a living; a creative endeavor to put food on the table for us and our employees.  Printing maps was my Daddy’s and Granddaddy’s business. It is mine still.

What is a map?

A map is something that my Daddy and Granddaddy made at work. Every morning they went away.  Every evening they came home. Sometimes, with a great big printed paper map. It is to put on the wall, a gift for friends and neighbors. A map can be an artistic expression and a marketing tool.

Some may say that the printed map is done for, but it is a mistake to see it as a print vs. digital media competition. The greatest result is achieved when the two are used together. The printed map provides the “big picture” and the resulting spatial awareness shows you where to crunch down for detail using the mobile device. Without the digital, you lose the enormous resources of the internet. Without the printed map you don’t know what to do with the mobile device. Electronic devices are not replacing printed products, but they complement each other, and make each more effective.

This post was originally published on the IMIA Blog

Happy International Print Day

A map is tactile

A map is tactile. Many people find that  there’s just something enjoyable about holding a printed map in their hands.

Print is Gloriously Tactile

Humans were designed to touch and feel. Print—an extremely tactile media —caters to this need.

While much of the marketing world’s attention seems to be turned to the digital arena, print continues to be an extremely effective part of the marketing mix. When you think about the emotional impact that print’s physicality has, it’s easy to see why print works.

Perhaps it’s because it exists in the physical world that print is so capable of grabbing our attention. From the map of your favorite event, or magazines sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, to the newspapers in the rack at your favorite coffee place and the letters and fliers that arrive in your mail, print has a way of calling out to be picked up and read.

Many people find that there’s just something enjoyable about holding a printed piece in their hands. Print stimulates the senses. You can feel the texture of the paper, turn the pages, see the colors as they were meant to be seen. Print can be shared, thumbed through and dog-eared. Coupons and articles can be cut or torn out and set aside. Plus, of course, print is always available, no connectivity required.

Print not only provides a warm and friendly experience that no other medium offers, it also offers a sense of permanence that simply feels more trustworthy. In fact, recent studies show that consumers find print ads quite a bit more trustworthy than those they see online. While 60% of consumers trust newspaper and magazine ads, just 48% trust search advertising or online video ads, and only 42% find online banner ads worthy of their trust. (1)

The tactile nature of print undoubtedly contributes to the effectiveness of newspaper and magazine ads. One recent study shows that newspaper ads rank noticeably higher than ads on radio, TV or online-only sites when it comes to measures of advertising effectiveness such as “usually notice ads” and “likely to purchase.” (2)  Another recent study shows that magazines outperform TV and online for critical purchase drivers such as brand awareness, brand favorability and brand purchase intent. (3)  In contrast, social media—the darling of the marketing world—may not be that darling after all. In a recent survey of more than 1,700 social media marketers, less than 8% were actually happy with their efforts and 21% were so dissatisfied that they’re ready to replace their social spend with more traditional buys. (4)

Print is gloriously tactile, which makes it capable engaging audiences in a way that other media simply cannot.


1 Nielsen, Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages, September 2013
2 Nielsen, 2013 National Cross-Media Engagement Study
3 MPA, Magazine Media Fact Book, 2013-2014
4 iMedia Connection, The Declining Value of Social Marketing, Jan. 15, 2014

Have Lithographic Print Nautical Charts Gone Down With the Ship?

The Maryland Cruising Guide, published and printed by Williams & Heintz Map Corp., is based on NOAA Nautical Charts.

The Maryland Cruising Guide, published and printed by Williams & Heintz Map Corp., is based on NOAA Nautical Charts.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced  that to save money, the government will stop printing the traditional lithographic paper chart, that has been NOAA’s signature product, trusted by mariners, since President Thomas Jefferson asked for a survey of the coast in 1807.

Effective April 13, 2014, the federal government will no longer print lithographic nautical charts.

Are we hastening the demise of printed maps and charts?  We often jump to new technology and online mapping without adequately considering the effect on the public; it’s like everybody running to one side of the boat to see what’s going on and making it capsize.

For example, the US Geological Survey used to have a very good printing plant that produced maps not only for USGS, but the Bureau of Land Management as well, not to mention collaborating with numerous state geological surveys to produce printed map products.  Unfortunately their leadership with their crystal ball foresaw the demise of hard copy maps back around 2000.  Their printing plant with decades of expertise and experience is now gone.  Ironically, the only thing that is not gone is the demand for hard copy maps.  Last year they were compelled to solicit a contract for the printing and distribution of their topo products, of which they still sell about 350,000 maps a year.  That’s not too bad, for a product that the publisher has tried to discourage people from using.

NOAA is a scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere. With respect to producing maps and charts, NOAA’s core job is to provide charts for commercial shipping.  It continues to meet this requirement through the POD’s.  A NOAA authorized Print on Demand (POD) chart is printed within a day or two of the date it is ordered and contains all the published critical chart corrections.

The recreational boater, however, has been abandoned.

“There is no question that many boaters and tourists will miss the days when they could drop by a shop to pick up a traditional nautical chart that was printed by the government. Stores offer more than convenience… They are a valuable resource for local information, marine expertise, and friendship.” (FAQs PDF)

The good news is that, while the federal government will no longer print lithographic nautical charts, they are now testing a new product: during a trial period from Oct 22, 2013 to Jan 22, 2014, they are making about a thousand nautical charts available in printable PDF format for free download.

The new printable PDF charts, at 400 dpi, continue the traditional look, with the same colors. Charts printed from the PDF file, are suitable for planning and public display. Here is where Williams & Heintz Map Corporation comes in.  We have been printing nautical chart books based on the NOAA charts since 1969. We are all set to step up and offer the public the same high level of service they’ve provided over the decades. While anyone can download a PDF, not everyone has the capability to print them at chart size. Williams & Heintz is the printer who can reproduce the colors and image resolution on the paper you select, including wet strength.

So while you will no longer be able to purchase NOAA nautical charts printed by the government, we welcome the new opportunities for printing and distributing charts made from PDF files for you, whether you want one digital print of a NOAA Nautical Chart with your house centered on the map, or thousands of lithographic charts featuring your marina and logo to hand out to your customers.

Update: Oct. 28, 2013 Edited inaccurate content.

Update: May, 14 2014  Williams & Heintz Map Corporation is pleased to announce that they are now certified to print the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Print-on-Demand Charts, (NOAA POD Charts).

NOAA has authorized Williams & Heintz Map Corporation to sell NOAA’s paper nautical charts that are printed when the customer orders them — or “on demand.” The information on the charts is still maintained by NOAA, and the charts are corrected with Notices to Mariners up to the week of purchase.

The Map Experience

What if you had never seen a printed map? What if all you only knew about was electronic devices? This tongue in cheek video is an introduction to “a new bio-optical knowledge recording and dissemination system, responding to the trade name: Map.”

Created by The Regional Centre for Geographic Information Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (CRIGE  PACA).   It was shown during  meeting, a conference called SIG La Lettre.

Watch the video which helps you to understand “the use of maps.” It is full of great information about map features like:

“Here’s how it works:  Map  consists of a large window,  integrated in a flexible cellulose pad, and compressed hundreds of times, thanks to the FUF technology:  folding/unfolding.

“Map” is able of storing millions of information bits, which are then optically scanned, and thus directly transmitted to the brain.

Thanks to a particularly ergonomic navigation interface, based on an intuitive forearm supination and pronation mechanism, pans, zooms and rotations are performed without image degradation, smoothly, with a refresh rate of a few picoseconds.

It has a 100% toutchpad allowing simultaneous use of 10 fingers.

Color stability is perfect, whatever the light conditions.”

In Today’s world of security worries, the Map video playfully reminds us, without a direct comparison to our digital devices, that that people are not likely to steal your map on the subway and:

“Map” respects users’ privacy:  impossible to hack, and without any antivirus or firewall, annotations are locally stored and never sent to any server.

And “Map” is unbreakable!

Finally, the video reminds us that a print map is great for decorating, and is a recyclable, sustainable,  product.

Happy watching!  (Link here)
Map is an unprecedented technological revolution:  Without cables, without electronics, without connection, compact, convertible and portable. “Map” can be used everywhere: at home, at the office, in the car, by bicycle, horseback riding, even in extreme cold! “Map” is available at any time… without battery, nor socket. “Map” does not crash ever. “Map” does not need to be reset nor updated. “Map” can also prevent an unwanted encounter.

‘Map is an unprecedented technological revolution: Without cables, without electronics, without connection, compact, convertible and portable.
“Map” can be used everywhere: at home, at the office, in the car, by bicycle, horseback riding, even in extreme cold!
“Map” is available at any time… without battery, nor socket.
“Map” does not crash ever.
“Map” does not need to be reset nor updated.
“Map” can also prevent an unwanted encounter.’

Bring a Printed Map to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Holly and Mark Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

MapPrinters, Holly and Mark, take a trail ride at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Last month, Mark and I flew to Las Vegas, Nevada, for the International Map Industry Association (Americas) (IMIA) Strategic Planning Session.

IMIA (Americas) has some really great things planned for an exciting 2013 Global Conference and Member Showcase, September 8-10, 2013, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This conference will be:

  • Where new tools, technology, products, and services meet the mapping industry’s leading business professionals to monetize the product
  • Where to find the exciting opportunities in the business of maps
  • Where maps and money come together.

More on that in future posts.

We flew in early, with enough time for an adventure before the meetings.  We got a rental car and set out for Cowboy Trail Rides, in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.  If you want to visit this beautiful place, bring a printed map.  We went over a low hill, and on the other side, we had left Las Vegas and the WI-Fi behind.

PAPER because agrees:

Paper because a lot of places worth going to don’t get a signal, and hopefully never will.  High in the mountains, out in the country, even your nearest nature trail are just a few places that are more enjoyable with a simple map, your senses, and no distractions.

Print also has the power to revive a sense of adventure and challenge those of us who have come to rely on step-by-step directions to that charming country inn and where to eat when we get there. With the classic road atlas, there’s no voice urging us to go one way or another, or system recalculating how to get us back on our original course if we get sidetracked. We’re free to change your route on a whim and see where the road takes us. The map will still get us where we need to go, it’s just a bit less bossy…

Set yourself free to go where no signal can, where the only roaming is in your mind or at the end of your pen. Who knows where you might go and what you might find…

Printing Transportation Maps and Making Them Available to the Public Boosts Tourism Dollars

The importance of tourism in Maryland

The Maryland Office of Tourism just published this info graphic on the importance of tourism in Maryland.

For every $1 Maryland invested in tourism funding last year, $43 in state sales tax was generated.

Tourism creates jobs. 1 out of 17 jobs in Maryland is a tourism job – 130,000 Marylanders directly work in tourism.

97% of tourism businesses in Maryland are small businesses.

Visitors to Maryland spent $13.1 billion on travel expenses in 2010.

When you look at all the media options, printed tourist information is an important, and low cost, part of the money invested in tourism funding.

The most effective form, of printed material for tourists, is a map.   People want maps, as opposed to just a travel magazine.  This dynamic was most observable when New York State incorporated their map into their travel magazine as a tear out piece.  At the rest stops they ended up with dumpsters full of magazines, with the maps removed.

The primary job of the transportation map is no longer just to get someone from point A to point B.  That information is readily available in numerous formats and media.  The real job of the transportation map is now to get people to stop in between point A and B and spend a few bucks.

When the tourist information is made part of a city, county, or state transportation map, then it will end up in the hands of potential consumers.

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