Thursday, April 26, 2018
News Roundup

Will paper maps fold for good thanks to GPS devices?

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Used to be, Dad would stuff a half-dozen maps in the glove box before setting out with the family on a road trip. Colorful maps bearing the logos of the oil companies that printed them once brimmed from displays at filling stations, free for the taking.

But of the more than 35 million Americans expected to travel by car this summer, a good chunk will probably reach for technology before they're tempted to unfold a paper road map.

Websites like MapQuest and Google Maps simplified trip planning. Affordable GPS devices and built-in navigation on smartphones transformed it — and transportation agencies around the country are noticing, printing fewer maps to cut department costs or just acknowledging that public demand is down.

The drop in sales began around 2003, when affordable GPS units became go-to Christmas presents, said Pat Carrier, former owner of a travel bookstore in Cambridge, Mass. "Suddenly, everyone was buying a Garmin or a TomTom," he said. "That's the year I thought, 'Oh, it's finally happened.' "

Transportation departments around the country are reprioritizing their spending amid times of falling revenue, and paper maps could be on the chopping block, said Bob Cullen, spokesman for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

"Just based on the current climate, there have been some cuts," he said. "I would expect map printing to be one area that's been targeted."

In late June, at the annual exposition of the Road Map Collectors Association in Dublin, Ohio, collector Terry Palmer was selling some of his beloved maps. The 65-year-old from Dallas wore a T-shirt with intricate route lines of the United States on his chest, back and arms.

"The GPS of course now being so available, a lot of new cars are coming out with built-in GPS. People are utilizing those, and they don't want a road map," he said. "A lot of the younger generation, they're used to having their phone, and they don't need a road map to figure out where to go."

In Georgia, officials are printing about 1.6 million maps to cover a two-year period — less than half of what they were printing a decade ago. In Pennsylvania, where officials say public demand has gone down, about 750,000 maps are being printed — down from more than 3 million in 2000.

Officials in Oklahoma and Ohio also say map printing is down, and Washington state discontinued them altogether by 2009 because of budget shortfalls.

But in other states, printing has remained steady because maps remain popular at visitor centers.

There's a universal theme to paper road maps, especially for baby boomers traveling after retirement, said Kevin Nursick, spokesman for Connecticut's transportation department. Paper maps, he said, offer an experience that dead batteries and unreliable service connections cannot.

Free roadside maps boomed between the 1920s and 1970s, when oil companies worked with a handful of publishers. As major highways were being built, those maps became synonymous with the possibilities of the open road.

Dick Bloom, a founding member of the Road Map Collectors Association, has been collecting maps since he was 10. The retired airline pilot from Danville, Ky., said there used to be an element of surprise in road trips. "The paper map was all you had back then," Bloom, 74, said from his merchandise table. "It was the only way to get around. It was a lot more of an adventure back then."

Transportation agencies aren't the only ones printing paper road maps. Companies like AAA and Rand McNally have been in the business for decades and are just as synonymous with trip planning.

Members of AAA, whose services are fully integrated online and include a TripTik mobile app, requested more than 14 million paper guides in 2010, spokeswoman Heather Hunter said. The number of paper maps AAA prints has declined, but she wouldn't go into detail.

Rand McNally is known for its road atlases but also offers an interactive travel website and GPS devices; it declined to comment on how many maps it's printing these days.

Carrier, now a consultant in the mapping and travel publishing industry, said the additional services from traditional mapping companies show the incredible potential in the industry. "There's no question in the U.S. that traditional road maps are diminished," he said. "But there are other areas of the map industry that are thriving and even growing."

Charlie Regan, who runs the maps division for National Geographic, said the company has sold more paper map products in the past three years than it has ever sold since launching the division in 1915. He attributed it to customers learning to appreciate good map data — and also noted that sales of international maps have remained consistent, and that sales of recreational hiking maps are on the rise.

Comments
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 8-4 win over Orioles

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 8-4 win over Orioles

Marc Topkin's takeaways from the Rays 8-4 win over the Orioles on Wednesday:* RHP Alex Cobb is going to be Alex Cobb again. But it seemed clear from watching him against his old Rays mates he's not quite ready yet, the result of signing in late March...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Trump says Cohen represented him in

Trump says Cohen represented him in "Stormy Daniels deal"

President Donald Trump acknowledged Thursday for the first time that his longtime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen represented him in efforts to silence Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who has alleged a sexual encounter with Trump more than a de...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Three things to know about new Land O’Lakes football coach Chad Walker

Three things to know about new Land O’Lakes football coach Chad Walker

Chad Walker, 34, is the new football coach at Land O'Lakes, inheriting a team that went 4-5 under Brian Wachtel in 2017. Walker played college football at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., from 2002-05. He didn't move to Florida until Jan. 1, 20...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecast in first quarter

Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecast in first quarter

TAMPA — Outback Steakhouse parent company Bloomin’ Brands reported first-quarter earnings of $65.4 million and a 68 cents net income per share.The locally based company, which also owns Carrabba’s and Bonefish Grill, posted $1.12 billion in revenue. ...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan makes offer for Wembley Stadium

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan makes offer for Wembley Stadium

LONDON — Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan has made an offer to buy Wembley Stadium from the English Football Association, increasing the prospect of an NFL franchise in London.Wembley has staged regular-season NFL games since 2007 and the Jagua...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rescuing the rescuers from the trauma of seeing buddies crash to their deaths

Rescuing the rescuers from the trauma of seeing buddies crash to their deaths

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE — In his mind, Lee Von Hack-Prestinary kept circling the crash site.His friends were in the wreckage below, and he couldn’t help.The memory brought him to tears.Seated across from him, at Patrick Air Force Base near Cocoa Beach...
Updated: 1 hour ago
HUD Secretary proposes raising rent for low-income Americans receiving federal housing subsidies

HUD Secretary proposes raising rent for low-income Americans receiving federal housing subsidies

WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson proposed far-reaching changes to federal housing subsidies Wednesday, tripling rent for the poorest households and making it easier for housing authorities to impose work requirements.Ca...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays morning after: Cobb still searching

Rays morning after: Cobb still searching

The 12 years he spent in the Rays organization, and the seven seasons he was around the big-league team, mean the world to Alex Cobb.But Wednesday he wasn't in the mood for memories.After a third straight outing for his new Orioles team ended badly, ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Five reasons Palm Harbor University football will be better this season

Five reasons Palm Harbor University football will be better this season

PALM HARBOR — There is plenty of optimism at Palm Harbor University, which has some key returners in place that can help the Hurricanes improve on last season's 3-5 football record. Here are five reasons PHU can turn things around, starting thi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
After Twitter backlash, Jeff Garcia won’t announce any Bucs draft picks

After Twitter backlash, Jeff Garcia won’t announce any Bucs draft picks

The Bucs still don't have a third-round draft pick this weekend, but if they do trade for one, former Tampa Bay Bucs quarterback Jeff Garcia won't be the one to announce it.It's been a rough few days for Garcia, who played for the Bucs in 2007-08, ma...
Updated: 2 hours ago