Author Topic: OS to stop routine printing of paper maps?  (Read 4779 times)

Jester

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OS to stop routine printing of paper maps?
« on: March 30, 2014, 02:40:13 PM »
From today's Telegraph

The art of folding them may have often been as challenging as the ability to read them.

But after decades as an indispensable guide to the outdoors, the humble map appears to be heading the way of the sextant, the north star and other seemingly outmoded navigational aids.

After years of declining sales, with consumers increasingly relying on electronic satellite navigation systems, the Ordnance Survey is planning to end its policy of routinely producing paper maps covering the entire country. Instead, it will offer a service whereby people who do require a paper chart will have to order it, so that it can be printed off specially.

Latest figures from the OS show that paper map sales accounted for just seven per cent of its £141.9 million turnover last year, as the numbers sold slipped below two million for the first time since the launch of its distinctive, outdoor hiking ranges, the 1:25,000 scale Explorer Maps and 1:50,000 Landranger Maps in the 1970s.

The organisation – which accounts for 95 per cent of the leisure map market – is a government agency and part of its remit is to map the entire country and have accurate, up to date charts available.

However, under the new plans – to be introduced gradually over the coming years – maps for vast areas of the country will no longer be routinely printed off and kept in stock. Rather, they will simply be available on demand. Those which cover popular hiking areas, such as the Lake District, are likely to still be produced.

In a further sign of the times, the OS has launched a “map amnesty”, allowing the public to send in an old, paper chart in exchange for a discount on a digital version. Although advertising has been limited to an appeal in its own newsletter and website, it has already received in excess of 3,000 paper maps.

The project, which runs until the end of April, is to ensure maps in use are up to date. The OS makes 10,000 changes each day to the database from which its maps are produced – from new properties, changes to road layouts, closures of pubs.

Digital versions can be updated automatically and instantly, while Explorer and Landranger paper versions are only modified every two to five years.

A spokesman said: “Paper maps still remain an important part of the Ordnance Survey brand with nearly two million maps being sold over the last year.

“But in the future, rather than have the whole country in stock, we will have them on demand. There is a statutory duty for us to map the whole of Great Britain and to make mapping available for the whole of Great Britain, but in the future you won’t just be able to walk into a book shop. You will have to order online and print it off.”

Currently, all OS maps are printed by a company in Froome, Somerset, and sold directly to large stores, such as Waterstones, or book wholesalers.

The organisation has already started to offer “custom-made” maps, which can be centred on any location specified by the buyer, such as a home address, or holiday destination.

The Ordnance Survey traces its roots back to the mid eighteenth century, when it was established to carry out a military survey of Scotland, in the wake of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745.

It started providing leisure mapping at the start of the twentieth century.

But this sector saw its heyday in the late 1980s, when the organisation was selling almost 3.5 million a year.

Just a decade ago, sales were still at around 3 million. Last year, they were 1.9 million. While these sales have declined, though, those of digital products – such as apps, or services which allow people to print off their own charts – have been rising.

The Explorer range covers the country in 403 maps, while there are 204 Landranger ones.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/outdoors/10732034/End-of-the-road-for-paper-maps.html

You won't be able to buy an off the shelf map!  :o
Gone will be the joy of popping into some village store miles from anywhere and being able to buy a map of the area.
Everywhere will be like that town in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? Two weeks from everywhere!
I hope this isn't the case, it will be a sad day to see the end of proper paper maps.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2014, 02:46:49 PM by Jester »
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Locus

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Re: OS to stop routine printing of paper maps?
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2014, 11:51:08 AM »
Ordnance Survey Responds

Going by that, it appears for now that the telegraph ran with a rumour.

Lost Soul

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Re: OS to stop routine printing of paper maps?
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2014, 12:01:42 PM »
Thank heavens for that!

To quote from the OS statement: "We would always emphasise the importance of carrying a paper map, a compass, and having navigational skills to support any digital products and apps that are being used by outdoors enthusiasts."

As we all know sole reliance on digital is the true way to grief.  As regularly happens and has been reported on numerous times in this forum.

Lyle Brotherton

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Re: OS to stop routine printing of paper maps?
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2014, 01:14:03 PM »
I remember sitting in a meeting, a few years ago, at my erstwhile publishers, Harper Collins, and some young tyke telling us that Kindle would be the death knell of the printed book. The following year physical book sales increased, and have continued to do so every year sine - I wonder what ever happened to that young tyke ;) 
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Callum

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Re: OS to stop routine printing of paper maps?
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2014, 01:24:59 PM »
He now writes for The Telegraph ;)

Jester

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Re: OS to stop routine printing of paper maps?
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2014, 07:45:15 PM »
He now writes for The Telegraph ;)
Nice one. Good to hear this isn't going to happen.
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Lyle Brotherton

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Re: OS to stop routine printing of paper maps?
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2014, 09:38:40 AM »
I have been thinking back to my dealings with Ordnance Survey about providing OS mapping FOC to MRT’s, when I met with Dr. Vanessa Lawrence, the Director General of Ordnance Survey and remember that she was firm in her commitment to the continued development of their printed maps - a quiet media day for The Telegraph perhaps?
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Hugh Westacott

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Re: OS to stop routine printing of paper maps?
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2014, 07:35:20 PM »
It is possible that there have been discussions within the Ordnance Survey about the possibility of phasing out paper maps sometime in the future, and, a journalist has inflated their importance and drawn the wrong conclusions. After all, with the ever-increasing sophistication of print-on-demand-techniques it is easy to imagine that one day every corner shop would be ale to print out a paper map.

Hugh

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Callum

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Re: OS to stop routine printing of paper maps?
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2014, 02:06:22 PM »
I am sure that you are right Hugh. We recently bought an HP Designjet T520 for the Centre which prints with up to 610mm, perfect for maps and its print quality is excellent. Only a few years ago this type of big printer would have been outside our financial reach. 

Lost Soul

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Re: OS to stop routine printing of paper maps?
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2014, 11:16:42 AM »
Just a thought on home printing.  OS Maps are basically printed on paper.  Ink used etc ensures that if the map gets wet it is still readable.  Of course to mitigate on that issue we buy laminated maps.

Most printers we buy are of the ink jet variety - a water based ink.  Paper gets wet ink runs very quickly indeed, all unreadable.  How do we laminate home printed maps?  Only way your home printed ink jet map wont run if wet is to print it on Memory Maps Tough Print Paper.  Its waterproof, and believe me it does what it says on the tin.  But it is very expensive.  And as far as I know is only available in A4 size. 

A4 is handy for the following short bits of route but in terms of reading the wider landscape a larger sheet size is required.  A3 or A2 I would suggest.

Hugh Westacott

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Re: OS to stop routine printing of paper maps?
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2014, 12:22:20 PM »
I bought a home laminator which was on offer from W.H.Smith for less than £10.00 a couple of years ago  It did the job but it worked out to be more expensive than using Toughprint waterproof paper. Also, the lamination made the map stiff and awkward to handle.

I find that if I print maps on standard paper and keep them in a stout plastic bag that they rarely get wet. But then, unlike some walkers, I don't normally annotate my maps with marker pens.

When backpacking, which makes if more difficult to keep maps dry, I use Toughprint paper and print on both sides of each sheet. This reduces the cost per A4 map to about 25p.

Another solution is to paint the map with a clear varnish from a hardware store (much cheaper than buying from a stationers). I imagine that you would be able to annotate it with a suitable marker pen. The map tends to yellow in time. Hmm... on second thoughts it might not work because the print would probably run. I used to paint the original, not copies i.e. before the era of home printers.

Hugh

I grow old...I grow old...I shall wear the bottom of my trousers rolled. T.S.Eliot.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2014, 12:34:04 PM by Hugh Westacott »

krenaud

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Re: OS to stop routine printing of paper maps?
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2014, 08:48:56 PM »
rite-in-the-rain make printer paper which supposedly allows you to print water proof maps with an ordinary inkjet printer

Hugh Westacott

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Re: OS to stop routine printing of paper maps?
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2015, 10:26:27 AM »
This news release from the Ordnance Survey may be of interest.

Hugh

http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/about/news/2015/paper-map-revolution.html

ianj37

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Re: OS to stop routine printing of paper maps?
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2015, 04:22:48 PM »
Thanks for the interesting information Hugh. Long may paper maps continue - I love 'em and, possibly slightly sadly, do just sit and look at the map! Of course it is slightly worrying for a man of my age to read that press release and realise  that when they say 'Since the turn of the century ...' they aren't referring to 1900!!