Why printed maps are not dead yet
Internet maps are great for finding the quickest route, but for those who enjoy the journey in its own right, printed maps still lay out the alternatives.
So you think printed maps are finished in the digital age? Try this test: remember your best ever road trip and type the departure point and destination into an internet mapping service such as Google maps. For a favourite journey of mine – Melbourne to Byron Bay – Google Maps offered mainly the Newell and Hume Highways, or a Hume/Pacific combination that was nothing like the route I enjoyed.
It omitted great scenic and motoring experiences such as the Murray Valley Highway, the Alpine Way, Bells Line of Road through the Blue Mountains, the Putty Road and Thunderbolt’s Way.
The internet option was about the most direct route. Mine, derived from several hours poring over a road atlas, was about pleasure.
Neil James, RACV general manager of member service delivery, says I am not alone: “Significant numbers of people are still using printed maps as a planning tool.
“People are still attached to mapping. The tactile experience of handling a map, knowing where they are and what’s around them is something they appreciate that they don’t get from a screen.
“They get to stop at more interesting places. There’s a river nearby, or a particular town that’s interesting, rather than stopping at a service centre on the side of the road where they could be anywhere and nowhere.”