Mapping, Technology, and Business Disruption

Archiving paper map collections for good

Technology is a disruptor to traditional industries. No business is immune, including mapping. By this time, most of us have traded in our glossy yellow 800 page spiral-bound gas station staples for something more functional and purse friendly.

We don't just use maps to get from A to B anymore. They show us social trends in geographic context, our movements, interactions, and communications with each other. We can analyze and evaluate how we collectively use space in our cities and how those patterns change over the course of a day, a week, a season, a year.

Maps are no longer pretty pictures, they're sophisticated living documents constantly being updated in real time by our collective feedback. Traffic on a Google Map is a good example.  Everyone with a smartphone is a contributor.  We see the traffic patterns, make decisions about which roads to avoid and in turn become contributors ourselves.

After years of working in the mapping industry, I myself have a substantial collection of outdated paper maps cluttering my house. For a few tips about what to do with your collections, I suggest the following from my personal experience:

  • Wrapping paper - Scotch tape does not adhere so well, however. I recommend masking tape or glue.
  • Insulation -  Maps can be used in your DIY projects around the house.  The dimensions of folded maps (if you can figure out how to get it back in one piece) fit nicely inside your walls - but consult with an engineer about the increased weight load.
  • Kindling - Extra maps are a must on camping trips.
  • Origami - The Japanese art of paper folding. Let your imagination run wild.
  • Decoupage or Papier Mâché - Decorate or create with the added flair of vintage cartography
  • And many more ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Respond! Leave your ideas below.


Popular posts from this blog

Surveying The Customer Landscape

What's EPSG And How Do I Use It?

How To Work Remotely with FBS Imagery