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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.”

Chin 

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.”

One if by Land, Two if by Sea

The New York Times just published (February 11, 2016) an opinion piece about using the GPS: Ignore the GPS. That Ocean Is Not a Road. By Greg Milner.

Milner gives us some great examples of people who have been led astray by faithfully following their GPS directions for hundreds of miles, across countries, to wrong cities, and into oceans.

Why do people unquestioningly follow their GPS device into the ocean or off a cliff?

Their use weakens our mental maps.

Most of us use GPS as a crutch while driving through unfamiliar terrain, tuning out and letting that soothing voice do the dirty work of navigating. Since the explosive rise of in-car navigation systems around 10 years ago, several studies have demonstrated empirically what we already know instinctively. Cornell researchers who analyzed the behavior of drivers using GPS found drivers “detached” from the “environments that surround them.” Their conclusion: “GPS eliminated much of the need to pay attention.”

The GPS is a great tool. So is a printed map. They complement each other. I like to use both.

I am not alone in that view. Over on the Practical Sailor Facebook page, they published an article from the Coast Guard News, announcing the approval of the official electronic chart.

“The Coast Guard will allow mariners to use official electronic charts instead of paper charts, if they choose to do so. With real-time voyage planning and monitoring information at their fingertips, mariners will no longer have the burden of maintaining a full portfolio of paper charts,” said Capt. Scott J. Smith, the chief of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Navigation Systems. This technology will also allow mariners to take advantage of information and data to enhance situational awareness during voyage planning and while underway.

They ask, “What’s your opinion on digital vs. paper charts?” The comments  say it all! The sailors want printed paper charts to use with their electronic navigation systems.

So,

One if by Land:  Be sure you take a look at your map and check put the big picture before you jump in the car, program your GPS, and tune out.

and

Two if by Sea:  Keep an updated paper chart for backup!

As always, Williams & Heintz would be pleased to give you a quote on your map printing project or print a NOAA POD Chart for you.

Oh, You’re a Map Printer, I’m So Sorry!

“Oh, you’re a map printer, I’m so sorry!”

That’s the kind of response I frequently hear when I tell people what I do.  They see all the GPS and cell phone map apps and think only of road maps that they don’t know how to read.

Well there are a lot of other kinds of maps out there to print, besides road maps. Here are a few, click on the tiles below to see the larger image and a little bit about them.

Williams & Heintz prints many different kinds of maps and charts

Williams & Heintz prints many different kinds of maps and charts

Here’s another thing, all those different kinds of maps were printed over 30 years ago, made by hand, with cameras and film. I scanned them off an old Williams & Heintz marketing piece; so old it doesn’t even have anything about a web site or email contact.

Just think what we can do now with computers, the internet, available data, and digital mapping tools!  (more about that in a later post)

All these new tools make cartography and map making more available, to many more people, to publish more maps.

And some of these great maps  even make it to print on paper.

When you want to see the big picture, nothing beats a big map on a big piece of paper.

It’s a great time to be a map printer!

More about map printing paper specifications

Determining the size of your map

Choosing Ink Colors

Communicating with your printer for best map design

Map finishing and folding

Map Printing News from the International Map Industry Association: Links between Paper and Digital Add Value to Your Map

Copper plate engraving showing hand drawn map symbols and typography. The beginnings of Williams & Heintz Map Corp.,  Est.1921

Copper plate engraving showing hand drawn map symbols and typography. The beginnings of Williams & Heintz Map Corp., Est.1921

Last week I attended the International Map Industry Association Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.    The world of cartography and mapping is changing.  Heck, we even changed the name of the organization from International Map Trade Association to the International Map Industry Association.  As one attendee, Eric Riback of Riback Associates says,

“The conference is smaller than it once was when the printed map publishing and retailing industry was flourishing. But as the industry, technology and players have changed in the past dozen years, the conference remains no less valuable than it ever was. Brainstorming, deal-making and information sharing are done with vigor there. If you have an interest in or connection to map/location-based technology or publishing, it’s somewhere you should be.”

As a map printer, we have been challenged by the new landscape of the mapping industry:  the changing demand for paper and print, the economic picture, and  GPS/GIS technology have changed the demand for printed maps. But as Directions media’s Joe Francica says in his article, ‘ “News of my death has been greatly exaggerated” … Print Map Publishers’,

“While you may perceive that “print” maps are dead and somehow dwarfed by the likes of the online, digital map publishers and portable navigation devices manufacturers, there is still much interest and business in a high quality, niche content-based paper map products.”

Much like the “paperless office” still leads to countless hits of the “Print” button, new toys and tools make it easier and more likely that people will print too.  New advances and digital tools make it possible for more people than ever to create maps that we can print.

Williams & Heintz was started  by my great grandfather, with stone lithography and copper plate engraving.  We have adapted to each new advance in technology, and we will continue to see new opportunities to share information with maps.  Providing the product in both digital and hard copy formats, and linking the opportunity to purchase either or both, results in cross pollination that drives the sales of both products.  It’s not an either/or decision;  the best option is frequently both.  We are exploring new digital products with ways to link between paper and digital, as well as new collaborations for digital delivery mechanism for both a print and digital versions for our customers. The IMIA Conference inspired me with opportunities to use the emerging trends in technology to complement my core business, map printing.

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