Paper maps: A thing of the past?

The San Francisco Chronicle takes up the question of whether paper maps are obsolete.

Map of San Francisco from Yahoo.
Paper maps don't show satellite imagery, like this map from Yahoo. Yahoo

The San Francisco Chronicle takes up the question of whether paper maps are obsolete. The article points out how paper maps no longer occupy display space right next to the cash register in service stations, and statistics about declining demand for paper maps from AAA. Mapping professionals quoted for the story insist that paper maps will always have a use. But, tellingly, all of the map users interviewed for the story say that they use digital maps online or GPS devices to get around.

The article quotes driver Damon Wood: "Maps are kind of old-fashioned," he said. "They're more of a collector's item--something you look at if you're going into an area and want to see where you want to go and what to see and do. But if you're going from the airport to the hotel or to see a client, MapQuest or GPS is better."

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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