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