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. As we see organizations like Borders, Blockbuster and Kodak succumb to this digital revolution, we map-makers must adapt or suffer a similar fate.
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 where 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? There is and it’s called the Avenza Map Store, accessible through the PDF Maps app.
Right now, the Avenza Map Store has more than 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. We encourage and invite everyone to do so.
So here is the gist of the system and the thinking behind it.
What is PDF Maps?
The award winning PDF Maps app 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 using their devices as well as an in-app store to facilitate the transaction and delivery of the maps.
Think of it like iTunes, iBooks or Kindle, but for maps.
The app loads georeferenced maps and has functionality for locating (via GPS), measuring, plotting points, importing and exporting points and much more, this goes well beyond traditional paper map usage.
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 four major problems:
- 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?
- Google and other streaming services fail to perform when there is no Internet connection such as when hiking or traveling in remote unconnected areas.
- Services that rely on a bandwidth connection are very undesirable when outside your home network area due to the high cost of data roaming charges.
- Google and other streaming services, as well as many existing mobile apps, do not always offer a useful map for a particular purpose such as hiking, boating, and visiting national parks which leaves much desire for a “better” map.
For publishers it responds to the following specific needs:
- With paper map sales declining, how can I get my content into the digital age for the mobile device market?
- 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.
- 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 PDF Maps and the Avenza Map Store
- With digital map use there is no printing, production quantity guesswork, inventory to manage, distribution and returns to account for.
- 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.
- Immediate, easy and effortless entry into the digital map marketplace.
Hope to see your content in the map store soon.