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Selling Your Maps Digitally to Mobile Devices

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Ted Florence

Ted Florence

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This posting is not a sales pitch whatosever. Rather it is essentially a call for maps as we [Avenza] strive to populate the inventory of our mobile map store with more and more maps. Please read on to learn more.

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As we have all seen over the last decade, the distribution and consumption of music, videos and books has moved to a digital model and so, the question then becomes, why not maps? Similarly to the aforementioned media types, maps are also very conducive to both the distribution and use in a digital and mobile way. And as we see organizations like Borders, Blockbuster and Kodak succumb to this digital revolution we map-makers must adapt or suffer a similar fate.

So many of you may be struggling with the issue of selling your maps digitally, tackling the question of the "mobilization" of your content and wondering how to attack the new markets.

But what if there were a generic iTunes/iBooks/Kindle type environment wherein a map publisher, like many of you reading this, could offer their maps for sale just like musicians and book publishers currently do with their songs and books? ......
and thus I would like to present to you the Avenza PDF Maps app and Digital Map Store.

Right now the Avenza Map Store has over 100,000 maps from publishers all over the world and we are looking for more as we strive to become the "iTunes of maps". Map sales in January have already more than doubled December in terms of both units and dollars and December was higher than previous months already.

Signing up to become a map store vendor is free and can be done here; http://mapstore.aven.../vendor/signup/
We encourage and invited everyone to do so.

So here is the gist of the system and the thinking behind it.

What is PDF Maps Generally?

The PDF Maps app and solution is an all-encompassing solution for the use, distribution and sale of digital versions of paper maps to mobile devices. It includes both an app for users to use, discover and purchase maps directly from and to their devices as well as a backend store to facilitate the transaction and delivery of the maps.

Think of it like iTunes, iBooks or Kindle but for maps.

Any geo-referenced map may be uploaded to the system and made available for purchase in a fully electronic manner similar to the way in which music, videos, books and apps are currently sold and delivered.

The app has functionality for locating (via GPS), measuring, plotting points, importing and exporting points and much more, this goes well beyond traditional paper map usage.

Awards that Avenza PDF Maps has garnered in 2011:

- IMTA International ‘Global’ award for the best map product worldwide in 2011
- IMTA Americas 'Best Use of New Technology & New Media' Award
- IMTA Asia-Pacific ‘Best Maps for Multimedia Application’
- IMTA Asia-Pacific ‘Graham Stanton’ Award for the best map product of 2011 in the
- 5 out of 5 from PC World magazine

Why PDF Maps? – What are the Advantages?

The PDF Maps app and the connected map store responds to the demand of both map users and map producers for a 21st century digital map consumption and delivery solution. In an era where a vast amount of content is shifting from analog to digital delivery and use, the map industry demands a similar solution for its users and producers.

For the user it solves 4 major problems:

1 - How can I use a map I really like on my mobile device instead of the often less-desirable ones Google and other streaming services offer?

2 - Google and other streaming services fail to perform when there is no internet connection such as when hiking or traveling in remote unconnected areas.

3- Services that rely on a bandwidth connection are very undesirable when outside one’s home data area due to the high cost of data roaming charges.

4 - Google and other streaming free services, as well as many existing mobile app products, do not always offer a useful map for a particular purpose such as hiking, boating and visiting national parks etc and as such a proper “better” map is often required or desired.

For publishers it responds to the following specific needs:

1 - With paper map sales declining how can they get their content into the digital age for the mobile device market?

2 - Devices like Garmins, TomToms and in-car navigation systems are usually closed to outside map content and thus map producers cannot easily, if at all, make their maps available to users of these systems.

3 - In an effort to get into the digital marketplace it has to be easy, efficient and inexpensive to repurpose existing content and map libraries. In most cases existing map libraries can be easily ported to the PDF Maps system and existing production processes do not need to be drastically modified, if at all, in order to produce new content for the PDF Maps system.

4 - With digital map use there is no printing, production quantity guesswork, inventory to manage, distribution and returns to account for.

5 - Updates to the maps are controlled by the vendor and can be instantly made available to the marketplace, while at the same time, older redundant content can be instantly removed and discontinued.

6 – Immediate, easy and effortless entry into the digital map marketplace.

The Avenza PDF Maps App Features

- Supports GeoPDF, geospatial PDF and geotiff files
- Show current location
- Measure distances and areas and estimate walking times
- Use the compass to view true or magnetic north (iPad and iPhone)
- Export, import and share waypoints and associated attribute data, including photos
- Share geo-tagged pictures and details via way points with friends and family
- Import KML waypoints (including images and custom pins) exported from PDF Maps or other software such as Google Earth or Avenza MAPublisher
- View the coordinates of the current position and any waypoint
- Search for places and points of interest on any map using the Google database
- Download and carry multiple maps on one device similar to music and books
- The only mobile, offline mapping solution for map users and producers
- Available now for iOS –Android and other platforms will be available in later releases

For more info look here: http://www.avenza.com/pdf-maps/store and here: http://www.avenza.com/pdf-maps

Thanks for listening. Hope to see your content in the map store soon.


Ted Florence

Avenza Systems Inc.

When Map Quality Matters ®



Cartographic and spatial imaging solutions for Adobe Creative Suite

Mobile mapping solutions for using, selling and distributing maps to mobile devices




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