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#16
ELeFevre

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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.


That's interesting. Honestly I'm a little surprised to think there was still a demand for printed real estate maps even before the real-estate market went belly-up. That seems like a market that would have dried-up with the coming of Google mashups, GPS navigation, websites like trulia.com, realtor.com, et cetera. I'd be interested in knowing what kind of content used to be on a typical real estate map. Demographics? Neighborhood info? Anyone have any past experience with real estate maps?

Erin



#17
Charles Syrett

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I don't think real estate maps would go out because of mashups etc, because their purpose is different to begin with. They're meant to be given out by realtors during home sales. "Welcome to Niceville, here's your map. It shows all the stores, schools, and services in the town." Very different from what navigators and mashups do. On the other hand, nose-diving home sales mean nose-diving need for this kind of map.

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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.


That's interesting. Honestly I'm a little surprised to think there was still a demand for printed real estate maps even before the real-estate market went belly-up. That seems like a market that would have dried-up with the coming of Google mashups, GPS navigation, websites like trulia.com, realtor.com, et cetera. I'd be interested in knowing what kind of content used to be on a typical real estate map. Demographics? Neighborhood info? Anyone have any past experience with real estate maps?

Erin



#18
Nick Springer

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That's interesting. Honestly I'm a little surprised to think there was still a demand for printed real estate maps even before the real-estate market went belly-up. That seems like a market that would have dried-up with the coming of Google mashups, GPS navigation, websites like trulia.com, realtor.com, et cetera. I'd be interested in knowing what kind of content used to be on a typical real estate map. Demographics? Neighborhood info? Anyone have any past experience with real estate maps?

Erin

I'm a little surprised to see this question coming from you Erin. Programs such as Microsoft Publisher enable anyone to create publications, it takes a skilled designer to create something that communicates well. Similarly, Google maps and it's various competitors and mashups allow anyone to make a map, but we all know that they are very generalized base maps and do not usually communicate a specific message well, even when customized with little push pins.

The savvy real estate company needs maps that are custom tailored to their needs, are very aesthetically appealing to impress clients, and emphasize their properties or area. I have done lots of printed real estate industry maps on paper, even as recently as last month. It seems that during this turbulent time in the market there are still maps to be made to reflect changes in holdings, or to try to drum up interest in flagging market areas.

As cartographers we cannot throw up our hands and say "now that everyone has Google Maps there goes my business." Some graphic designers did that I'm sure in 1988 when Aldus PageMaker and Adobe Illustrator came out, but the smart ones knew that average people would soon come to realize that just having these tools did not make them designers, and would come looking for the experts.

[...steps down off the soap box]

...and to answer Erin's question directly: real estate companies want all different kinds of maps like property locators, maps of an entire area to give away as freebies with their name on it for advertising, new development maps, and site plans for new construction.

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#19
Rick Dey

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Compass Maps primary business has been for the past several decades folded paper street maps in California and Nevada. They covered the small towns and areas that the major suppliers didn't bother with, sometimes even supplying product to some of the larger publishers.. That gave them an in for the Chamber of Commerce type maps because of the existing cartography that they had. Virtually everything that they published was one or occasionally two color. In the later years (the past 15 or so) they moved into process color and expanded their offerings into the larger cities. They transitioned from manual to computer drawn in the past 10 years or so. They dealt with distribution on their own mostly and although the maps were not necessarily the prettiest, they had coverage of the state that no one else could compete with and a reputation for accuracy (frequently a result of those Chamber of Commerce contacts and years of built up relationships with locals). Dick & Shirley Elke put their lives into it (as most small business owners do) and became a major part of Cartography in the region.

My guess would be that if indeed they are down for good that it was the fact that sales of paper maps has dropped substantially in the past several years and with the number of titles they were trying to maintain they just got stretched too thin to remain viable. It will be a loss to those small communities that maybe only existed on an inset of a larger county map but possibly new opportunities for very small independent cartographers.
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#20
Dennis McClendon

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Roughly half our business is maps for the real estate industry—though not for the residential resale market. (I get calls from time to time from house-market Realtors who dream big, but they never actually come through with any money.)

Our business is down somewhat, because big new condo project starts are way down. Chicago wasn't badly overbuilt, however, so we're still doing maps for smaller new condo projects. These are page-sized "amenity" maps that show nearby restaurants, nightspots, libraries, shopping, etc.

We also emphasize that our maps are a way for brokers to set themselves apart in the marketplace. Anybody leasing industrial space or selling a strip center can copy and paste a Mapquest map into a Word document. But if you're trying to set your property apart, trying to command a little higher price, you'll pay a few hundred dollars for us to do a really nice-looking map that fits with the design of your slick investment offering.

When the sea was calm, all ships alike showed mastery in floating. If you're merely selling a commodity on price, a recession can be a tough time.
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#21
ELeFevre

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That's interesting. Honestly I'm a little surprised to think there was still a demand for printed real estate maps even before the real-estate market went belly-up. That seems like a market that would have dried-up with the coming of Google mashups, GPS navigation, websites like trulia.com, realtor.com, et cetera. I'd be interested in knowing what kind of content used to be on a typical real estate map. Demographics? Neighborhood info? Anyone have any past experience with real estate maps?

Erin

I'm a little surprised to see this question coming from you Erin. Programs such as Microsoft Publisher enable anyone to create publications, it takes a skilled designer to create something that communicates well. Similarly, Google maps and it's various competitors and mashups allow anyone to make a map, but we all know that they are very generalized base maps and do not usually communicate a specific message well, even when customized with little push pins.


Hey Nick,
I understand the difference between a canned base-map and a thoughtfully crafted map designed to convey a specific message. There's no comparison from the perspective of a cartographer. I also know there is and always will be a market for custom property maps. However, it's undeniable that there has been a massive adaptation of online real estate mapping applications and it's undoubedtly ruined a print cartographers day, somewhere! Maybe I'm wrong about this and all this really means is that the number of resources has increased 10 fold, but I doubt it. Keep in mind also that my wife and I have been house shopping for over a year, and I'm constantly being directed to some new online real-estate property research tool! So maybe I'm looking at this equally from two perpectives: the customer and the cartographer! I've seen custom maps for new suburban developments, but the majority of property location maps, neighborhood demographic maps, et cetera have been web based. Maybe if I stop making maps and become a stock broker, CEO, or doctor I'll start seeing more custom property maps and my perspective will change! :)



#22
Nick Springer

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Hey Nick,
I understand the difference between a canned base-map and a thoughtfully crafted map designed to convey a specific message. There's no comparison from the perspective of a cartographer. I also know there is and always will be a market for custom property maps. However, it's undeniable that there has been a massive adaptation of online real estate mapping applications and it's undoubedtly ruined a print cartographers day, somewhere! Maybe I'm wrong about this and all this really means is that the number of resources has increased 10 fold, but I doubt it. Keep in mind also that my wife and I have been house shopping for over a year, and I'm constantly being directed to some new online real-estate property research tool! So maybe I'm looking at this equally from two perpectives: the customer and the cartographer! I've seen custom maps for new suburban developments, but the majority of property location maps, neighborhood demographic maps, et cetera have been web based. Maybe if I stop making maps and become a stock broker, CEO, or doctor I'll start seeing more custom property maps and my perspective will change! :)


But someone is making those online mapping tools as well. So your statement that "it's undoubedtly ruined a print cartographers day, somewhere" is true. But any cartographer that is ONLY doing print anymore and not able to adapt to the changes in technology is going to be hurting whether their market is real estate or any other. My point is that even Google Map solutions most likely require a cartographers hand to be effective, so the advent of these web sites should be seen as a detriment to our industry but rather a boon of new service offerings.

Recently I have done work for a technology company that needed to implement a map server for their client. They knew how to program ArcGIS Server, but knew that didn't have the cartography skills to create an effective map display.

Nick Springer

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


#23
toddao

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Wow! I just now see this, almost a year later.

That would explain why I never saw an updated Sonoma-Marin Atlas. I had freelanced with them back in 2006 while updating the Sonoma part of the atlas.

I got a tour of the place when I was done with CSUN. It was a real pleasure to see a working aerial camera, as well as the old layout boards and presses.

I had another connection with them (probably like a lot of people here), having used dozens of their road maps. I understand why they went under, but they will be missed.

Todd




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