Posts Tagged ‘rand mcnally’

Online Maps: Everyman Offers New Directions (NY Times)

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

zooatlantabeforeatlantazooopenstreetmap[Editor's note: As my music prof was want to remind, the only difference between amateur and professional is one gets paid and the other doesn't. My hope is Google Maps starts offering user-generated geodata back to the community, like OpenStreetMap.org now does. Left image is before community edits, right is after. Thanks Nora!]

Republished from the New York Times.

SAN FRANCISCO — They don’t know it, but people who use Google’s online maps may be getting directions from Richard Hintz.

Mr. Hintz, a 62-year-old engineer who lives in Berkeley, Calif., has tweaked the locations of more than 200 business listings and points of interest in cities across the state, sliding an on-screen place marker down the block here, moving another one across the street there. Farther afield, he has mapped parts of Cambodia and Laos, where he likes to go on motorcycle trips.

Mr. Hintz said these acts of geo-volunteerism were motivated in part by self-interest: he wants to know where he’s going. But “it has this added attraction that it helps others,” he said.

Mr. Hintz is a foot soldier in an army of volunteer cartographers who are logging every detail of neighborhoods near and far into online atlases. From Petaluma to Peshawar, these amateurs are arming themselves with GPS devices and easy-to-use software to create digital maps where none were available before, or fixing mistakes and adding information to existing ones.

Like contributors to Wikipedia before them, they are democratizing a field that used to be the exclusive domain of professionals and specialists. And the information they gather is becoming increasingly valuable commercially.

Google, for example, sees maps playing a growing strategic role in its business, especially as people use cellphones to find places to visit, shop and eat. It needs reliable data about the locations of businesses and other destinations.

“The way you get that data is having users precisely locate things,” said John Hanke, a vice president of product management who oversees Google’s mapping efforts.

People have been contributing information to digital maps for some time, building displays of crime statistics or apartment rentals. Now they are creating and editing the underlying maps of streets, highways, rivers and coastlines.

“It is a huge shift,” said Michael F. Goodchild, a professor of geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “This is putting mapping where it should be, which is the hands of local people who know an area well.”

That is changing the dynamics of an industry that has been dominated by a handful of digital mapping companies like Tele Atlas and Navteq.

Google is increasingly bypassing those traditional map providers. It has relied on volunteers to create digital maps of 140 countries, including India, Pakistan and the Philippines, that are more complete than many maps created professionally.

Last month Google dropped Tele Atlas data from its United States maps, choosing to rely instead on government data and other sources, including updates from users.

“They have coverage in areas that the big mapping guys don’t have,” said Mike Dobson, a mapping industry consultant who once worked at Rand McNally. “It has the opportunity to cause a lot of disruption in these industries.”

Continue reading at New York Times . . .

Rand McNally Releases Atlases for Kindle, Has Odd Vision for the Future of Maps (Gizmodo)

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

[Editor's note: Rand McNally introduces their popular US state-by-state road atlas series for the Kindle. Though without a GPS and in gray scale, I have played with a Kindle before and see the allure of the platform in terms of ease of use and portability. I discussed this topic at NACIS Missoula with some fellow cartographers in the context of the new lat-long GIS capabilities of the PDF format I wonder when smart phones like the iPhone that DO have GPS will start surpasing these efforts with such a PDF hack. In fact, there are several native apps for the Phone now featuring marine maps with GPS integration so there is a market out there. Though the iPhone's display physical dimensions are smaller than the Kindle, it has a higher resolution (pixels per inch) display that it easy to zoom. As to the utility of a road atlas that is NOT Google Maps tiles take the Benchmark (great christmas gifts!) series of western states road atlases, far and away better than Rand McNally or Delorme, which offer integrated relief shading, better road classification, points of interest, and most importantly, landscape maps with land ownership and physiography. Plus, the ability to view maps while not connected to the network is a big plus. Thanks Curt!]

Republished from Gizmodo.

Rand McNally can’t be happy with everyone dropping their bulky atlases for GPS units and nav-enabled phones, so they’re fighting back. But they seem a little confused.

The company is releasing a series of atlases for the Kindle, which will be purchased, delivered and consumed like any other ebook on the platform. The first maps, for Northern California, Southern California, and Washington, will be available for $1.99 each, and like the Rand atlases of your childhood, will probably be exhaustive.

There’s nothing expressly wrong with the concept, and the price could well be worth the utility, but the fact remains that putting static map collections on an ebook reader only accentuates how outmoded they are, and how artificially limited the powerful Kindle is. Regardless, the Kindle’s search function and the carefully indexed maps will provide a workable map solution for that small Kindle-equipped, Google Maps-forswearing slice of the population. [eCoustics]

The eCoustics post:

Rand McNally Road Atlases have been designed to work specifically on the Kindle reader. The digital atlas includes a full, searchable index of every city on the map as well as National Parks and other federal areas. The atlas also features individual overview maps of major National Parks as well as major cities and towns.

“Building on our decades of experience and a tradition of producing the most trusted print maps in the world, we are excited to take the industry lead in delivering easily readable state maps in a truly portable digital format,” said Joel Minster, senior vice president and chief cartographer at Rand McNally. “Our cartographic development team created a map page navigation technique entirely new to the Kindle, letting users easily navigate to the map above or below the current page, not just the page before or after, which is typical of e-book readers. Customers should expect nothing less from Rand McNally than to provide them with the trusted tools they need to discover, map and navigate their world.”

Users can download content directly through their Kindle device or from their computers via Amazon.com. Kindle books include free wireless delivery within a minute of placing an order. Additional Rand McNally state atlases for the Kindle are planned for 2009.

About Rand McNally
From America’s number-one-selling Road Atlas, The Thomas Guide®, FabMAP® and Goode’s World Atlas to StreetFinder® Wireless and IntelliRoute® trucking software, Rand McNally has been an industry leader in the mapping, routing, geographic reference and trip-planning tool marketplace for more than 150 years. With More Roads-Better Directions™, the company’s products are sold in more than 50,000 retail outlets, directly to business, and are distributed to 98% of schools across the U.S. Rand McNally is the premier resource for online travel planning as well as maps and directions. For more information, please visit www.RandMcNally.com, call 800-333-0136 or buy maps and travel gear online at http://store.randmcnally.com/.