It’s no secret that we believe digital is the future of maps because of the many advantages that digital maps and mobile map readers offer. But we also recognize that there is still and always will be demand for paper maps. They go together like peanut butter and jelly, pizza and beer or fish and chips. In today’s digital marketplace, the trick will be for map publishers find ways to serve up these tasty combinations to map consumers in a commercially viable way.
While this seems trivial, in fact, there are challenges for publishers to efficiently provide maps in both paper and digital formats. For most established map publishers, the paper distribution channel is well characterized. With the right relationships, publishers can get their maps onto the market through websites, brick-and-mortar retail stores, at events and through other business partnerships. On the other hand, selling digital maps requires an e-commerce platform capable of handling digital products and an application on which to view and use the maps effectively.
To address the challenge, we have partnered with print on demand and publisher MapSherpa.
While our vision is to have all of your maps on your phone or tablet, theirs is to have maps in your pocket, or on your wall. Together we can make both of those scenarios a reality.
Our joint pilot project will allow map consumers to easily get maps in both digital and printed formats. Now, when view selected maps in the Avenza Map Store you’ll have the option to also purchase a paper copy in a variety of sizes, and printed on a variety of different materials from MapSherpa’s map store, MapTrove. Find one of the selected maps on the MapSherpa site, in paper format, and choose to purchase the digital version for use on your mobile device from the Avenza Map Store.
We see this as a model for the future of map publishing and distribution, and a winning solution for publishers and consumers alike.