GPS can't kill the good old-fashioned road map
Print isn't dead yet. Not when it comes to hard copy road maps.
Even with the advent of GPS technology, cellphone apps and on-board electronic guidance, there is still room in the glove box for a map.
Patty Brown is the manager at the Canadian Auto Association branch in Windsor, Ont., the automotive capital of Canada.
She said each year the CAA still provides more than 100,000 maps to its members in south-central Ontario alone.
"Well you've heard all of the reports: the GPS led me into the water; the GPS led me into the mountain, that type of thing. So, [the map] is just the backup to use along with it," Brown said.
Travel and Tourism Ontario offer free maps of Ontario at offices near the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and the Ambassador Bridge. The downtown location, near the tunnel, hands out more than 100 maps per day.
Brown said that in her decade as manager, the number of maps handed out has remained consistent.
However, technology has maps on the ropes. Prior to 2006, the Province of Ontario printed 800,000 maps per year. Since then, the province has been printing 405,000 on an annual basis.
A typical GPS unit costs approximately $100 or drivers can simply use their smartphone to get them to where they're going.
Those affordable GPS systems have made finding your way around much easier but they're not for everyone.
Brown said the CAA still has a wide demographic of customers using maps, but most range in age from 35-65. Younger travellers are more likely to go digital, she said.
However, Clayton Thibert, a salesperson at Gus Revenberg Chevrolet-Buick-GMC said the aging population is slowly embracing technology available on cars today.
"The generation that's still using maps are slowly coming into the market because they're finding that the comfort level getting into the new technology is getting easier," he said. "But they do still like having that map and having something concrete in their hands."
Windsorite Mike Delmore is using both his GPS and a good old fashioned paper maps to plan a trip through north-eastern Canada and the U.S.
He said sometimes the most direct or fastest route to reach a destination isn't always the best way, despite what a GPS and computerized voice might say.
"It can take you through an area that's very fast to get through on a normal day, but during a rush hour it could take you forever, so if you use a scenic trip it might be less time to get there," Delmore said.
Delmore says GPS is a good tool, but hard copies allow him to truly plan his trip.
He did admit that some GPS units allow you to ask for an alternate route or provide routes around construction that didn't exist at the time the map was printed.