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#1
Neil Allen

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Compass Maps just shut its doors. For good? Who knows? It may just be another sign of the times for the paper map trade. :(

#2
Rick Dey

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The thinning of the herd continues
Rick Dey

#3
James Hines

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"Today the surface of the Earth has been mapped thanks to modern technology. But tomorrow God damn it's our duty as Cartographers to map new worlds."

These are words to live by, industries must all adapt tot he changing needs of the world, cartographers be not afraid, the world needs us more then we need the world. After all the world needs more cartographers, not less.

"There is much beauty that we fail to see through our own eyes teeming with life forms that give us that perception of our reality.  Leaves on the trees blowing gently in the wind, or scarily, the waves pounding through high surf, or lightly on a warm summer’s day; that opportunity to sit or swim in the water on a white beach.   That comfort to shout, “The universal conscious do you hear me?  I am alive, guide me dear logos towards the path of rightnesses.”  Earned what has been kept, no longer to be absorbed into a life filled with cold damn winds and  that stubborn fog clouding  my vision with nothing but darkness."


#4
Nick Springer

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Compass Maps just shut its doors. For good? Who knows? It may just be another sign of the times for the paper map trade. :(

I heard about this 2 weeks ago when one of their customers called me looking to replace a product they had done.

Nick Springer

Director of Design and Web Applications: ALK Technologies Inc.
Owner: Springer Cartographics LLC


#5
A. Fenix

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is this due to shifting technology or the US shifting economy? in my 7 years of professional cartographic experience, i have noticed that i am having a harder and harder time finding paper based cartographic work, but no problem finding work creating online mapping solutions for clients. i'm looking forward to hearing from my community on this topic.
Analisa Fenix
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Ecotrust

#6
Hans van der Maarel

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is this due to shifting technology or the US shifting economy? in my 7 years of professional cartographic experience, i have noticed that i am having a harder and harder time finding paper based cartographic work, but no problem finding work creating online mapping solutions for clients. i'm looking forward to hearing from my community on this topic.


Looking at myself and the people I work closely with over here, we still get a lot of paper cartography work. In fact, it seems to be increasing.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#7
François Goulet

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Looking at myself and the people I work closely with over here, we still get a lot of paper cartography work. In fact, it seems to be increasing.


They said books were supposed to disappear with the Internet, but I still can't read a long text on screen nor more than 2-3 newspaper articles... Paper maps should continue to be produced. I'm not sure if more online mapping means less printed maps... maybe only more maps, which can be good ;)

#8
Rick Dey

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We pretty much have the exact same market as Compass, folded street and road maps of California & Nevada. Although we have the advantage of a built in distribution network through our district offices and the big advantage of our products being provided for free, we've seen a definite drop in numbers over the past several years. Our research is showing that in great part this is due to technology, people can get their directions online and in more and more cases find their way using GPS devices. However we have also seen a fiercely loyal following that insist they still want their trusted AAA maps for planning purposes and getting an overall look at an area. The general feeling is that we're not going away soon, but there will continue to be shorter press runs and possibly longer update cycles.
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#9
ELeFevre

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If you're going head-to-head with companies like Google on content, then it's hard not to imagine a decline in paper map sales. I think there will always be a market for paper maps, just like there is still a market for vinyl records, paper books, et cetera, but I'm guessing the paper map market is going to shrink considerably (in some areas) until there's a new balance between supply and demand. I don't think it's a good time to rail against the system....not in the case of paper maps at least.

The only product I can think of that hasn't really changed in the past 100 years or so is toilet paper on a roll (western perspective here). Not sure what other people around the globe use.... but here's an idea, maps on toilet paper!! Almost guaranteed not to change!



#10
Jean-Louis

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but here's an idea, maps on toilet paper!! Almost guaranteed not to change!


just make sure you get a good picture Erin when the roll reaches Mecca, Jerusalem, the vatican and the statue of Liberty. We,ll post here and see what change happens!
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal


#11
Derek Tonn

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They said books were supposed to disappear with the Internet, but I still can't read a long text on screen nor more than 2-3 newspaper articles... Paper maps should continue to be produced. I'm not sure if more online mapping means less printed maps... maybe only more maps, which can be good ;)


Very good posting, Francois! The only thing I might say in addition to your comments would be this: It's not the people who "prefer" paper or the people who "prefer" on-screen maps who are the issue. The issue (I believe) is the people who fight to their death for ONLY one way or the other. The people who say "print AND electronic" will likely be in it for the long-haul, while most of the people who say "print OR electronic" likely will have some challenges ahead (print) and/or miss some golden opportunities at growing and enhancing their services (electronic). Unless they are incredibly good at carving-out some high-end specialty niches.

A quick look at the Compass Maps web site seems to tell the story of a predominantly "print" design firm who was very slow/reluctant to embrace the dynamic growth in electronic mapping applications...and their only real mention of "electronic maps" is a broken link! That assumption might be WAY off-base, as I admittedly was not well-versed in all of the services and products offered by Compass. However, it "appears" as though they were slow to change with the way things in our industry have been moving over the past several years...which may or may not be a contributing factor to their struggles.

I don't know....it makes me kind of sad every time a custom cartography firm falls by the wayside. However, if the "rumored" recession has any legs and staying power to it, my guess is that Compass will be one of 10-15 firms who ultimately are not able to weather the storm. Potentially good for the "survivors" who can pick up the pieces (and those former customers)! But bad/sad for the industry as a whole. :(
Derek Tonn
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mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#12
François Goulet

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It's not the people who "prefer" paper or the people who "prefer" on-screen maps who are the issue. The issue (I believe) is the people who fight to their death for ONLY one way or the other. The people who say "print AND electronic" will likely be in it for the long-haul, while most of the people who say "print OR electronic" likely will have some challenges ahead (print) and/or miss some golden opportunities at growing and enhancing their services (electronic). Unless they are incredibly good at carving-out some high-end specialty niches.


I was saying that there still be printed maps but I think you're right and the people making them will probably have to diversify their operations... I've done 100% of printed maps (atlases and schoolbooks) over the past 4 years and I think it's the wake up call I needed to just into electronic mapping (or starting to looking at... I love printed maps too much).

It's sad though that our field is changing so much... I mean, hopefully, it is evolving, but it sad that one cartographer may not be able to live of it's art if he wants...

#13
Derek Tonn

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It's sad though that our field is changing so much... I mean, hopefully, it is evolving, but it sad that one cartographer may not be able to live of it's art if he wants...


That's the nature of business though. I've used the analogy before of "King of the Hill," and I think it applies here as well. Did you ever play the game "King of the Hill" on the playground when you were a child? We played it a LOT in my grade school. Basically whoever is on top of the hill (usually snowbanks) was "King" until somebody else was able to knock them off and reach the summit themselves. You spend 10-15+ minutes working your way up to the top and sending other guys flying...and before you can take a deep breath and enjoy the view, you find yourself tumbling down the hill with somebody else claiming "your" throne.

The same is true in business, whether you create maps, make auto parts or design software. You spend YEARS honing and perfecting your products/services...and if you're smart and lucky enough, you get at/near the "summit" in your industry. Right about the time you drive your flag into the ground, you notice the 200-300+ other people who are right on your heels...with their own flags...just itching for the chance to toss you and your flag down the mountain.

Map design is a science, and map design is an art. However, map design is also a BUSINESS...and too-often people forget to watch their back-sides and adapt/evolve from a business standpoint. It's often the case where the firms who are the best at aspects of the "science" or "art" of map design are the ones driven under due to poor branding/identity and/or business models...and some of those firms reach that point out of stubbornness, AKA "this is the way that *WE* do things, and gosh-darnit, *WE* are not going to change!" Famous last-words in a competitive environment. ;)

All the folks who do more "freelance" or "hobby-job" work in the industry should probably be okay...since map design is probably not their main source of revenue and they are insulated if they lose 3-4+ projects. However, it's the firms with 1980s business models and 100% reliance upon map design for their very livelihoods who are the ones who could be in some trouble. I hope all of us in CartoTalk are the "survivors" after this latest down-cycle works itself through! We can only hope.
Derek Tonn
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mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#14
Nick Springer

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is this due to shifting technology or the US shifting economy? in my 7 years of professional cartographic experience, i have noticed that i am having a harder and harder time finding paper based cartographic work, but no problem finding work creating online mapping solutions for clients. i'm looking forward to hearing from my community on this topic.

The bulk of my business is still paper based and growing.

Nick Springer

Director of Design and Web Applications: ALK Technologies Inc.
Owner: Springer Cartographics LLC


#15
tom harrison

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Here''s what little I know. A friend of mine works for a small town Chamber of Commerce on the central coast of California. She had contracted with Compass to produce a map of the area and had sold about half her advertising space when she got word that Compass had closed shop. She heard - and this is pretty much hearsay - that Compass produced a lot of maps for the real estate industry and when that part of the economy went in the tank, their business dried up. True or not, it points out the importance of having a balanced business plan that does not depend too heavily on any one customer or product.




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