Digital navigation has changed the way we drive, but a printed map remains a useful resource for every glove box. Even the Millennial generation absorbed with glowing rectangles finds use for the traditional road map.
“A road atlas remains an important tool in an emergency– or when travelers like to get a more visual and tactile feel of a journey,” said Gena Rieger, a spokesperson for Rand McNally. “We have found that people are hesitant to part with their atlases because routes have been highlighted and notes have been made on pages. It becomes a memento.”
Printed maps aren’t relics. If anything, they are the ever-ready backup. Rieger believes drivers should have an atlas in their vehicle, even if they have digital navigation. Rand McNally built itself through publishing, but the company isn’t shying away from the digital age.
“We design GPS products to work in concert with our road atlases. Whenever customers look up a location on their GPS device, we also provide a corresponding page number and coordinate, so they can see the location on a paper map. While the screens on our GPS devices are great, they’ll never be as large as a 2-page spread,” she said.
Below are some reasons to keep the trusty atlas nearby during your summer road trip:
- When time isn’t a factor. If you drive a delivery truck, you want GPS for its direct-to-the- target routing.
- When you forget to bring your smartphone. Better to have a paper map on hand than nothing at all.
- Digital navigation is still a luxury. Many vehicles only include the option of a navigation system, not necessarily offering as a standard feature. Smartphones have GPS capabilities, but the app drains the battery and can quickly chew into your data plan.