Digital Maps: The Wave of the Future

We’re not the only ones: people around the world are turning to digital maps.

Why you may ask? Well despite, wanting to believe it had everything to do with us, individuals and institutions alike are beginning to see the various ways that digital maps, are not only beneficial from a street to street perspective but from a business and educational one as well. Here’s why.

Dynamic Content

The fact is clear: digital map offerings provide users with more up to date content (take OpenStreetMap, for example). Now sure, paper maps will generally get you there. But wouldn’t you prefer to not get stuck in that massive, unforeseen traffic jam or to have simple rerouting information at your fingertips if and when a detour occurs? And while we encourage exploration, isn’t it easier if after a long day of travelling, to have restaurant and hotel information at the ready instead of having to eat strange gas station food? These are benefits that have become inherent in online maps that unfortunately, cannot be offered by their paper counterparts.

Education

Let us just start off by saying that all maps offer great insight into conditions of the past, so you can’t go wrong there. Yet, while paper maps offer great insight into the past, digital maps offer the potential for users to both view, and illuminate places (themselves) in a new way. For example, individuals are currently recreating the Tower of London, Stonehenge and the pyramids for use interactive gaming places, and the British Library is calling for volunteers to update their collection of maps via crowdsourcing (wonder where they got that idea from) all in hopes merging historical data with up-to-date information for the public to use (and if that is not a legitimate testimonial to digital mapping we don’t know what is :)).

Big Bucks

As we discussed in last week’s blog, mapping is a tremendous organizational resource. However, with that said, mapping’s utility in a corporate setting has evolved from just simple game planning, into a large fiscal opportunity.

According to a report released by Google last week, mapping generates between $150 and $220 billion dollars a year. Not to mention, given that more and more money is being allocated towards web and mobile advertising, mapping offers companies the opportunity to advertise in an incredibly hyperlocal and personal way (remember that thing we said about finding a restaurant or hotel).

Now with that in mind, we love paper maps, and we couldn’t happier to see a resurgence in their use (we always knew we could count on you mapping hipsters). However, despite the soft spot we have for our paper brethren, digital mapping is proving more and more each why it is the wave future. Nonetheless, paper maps are way more fun to collect.