Canada shreds plan to scrap paper maps

The Canada Map Office has found its way out of the scrap heap.

The Canada Map Office has found its way out of the scrap heap.

The previous Liberal governmentdecided to close themap office, whichprovides regional dealers with large-scale topographical maps that show details about terrain and elevation. The plan had beento move to digital maps only.

But Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn announced Wednesday that the Conservative government hasyanked that plan off its course, and the map office will remain open.

Kathleen Olson, a spokeswoman for Lunn, saidNatural Resources Canada received a flood of letters protesting the planned closure.

"We did start seeing a lot of commotion around the idea of this office closing," Olson said.

"The minister wanted to find out more about it and once he did, he quickly realized that this is not something he wanted to see happen."

Paper maps vital

Map librarian Heather McAdam was among the many who cried out against the plan to provide the mapsonly over the internet for Canadians to download and print themselves.

McAdam, who works at Carleton University, said that won't help the third of Canadian householdsthat don't have internet access.

And she said many Canadians prefer paper maps to digital ones because they can bespread out to show a much wider area at once.

"When you want to plan something or you want to look at something, you have to see the beginning and the end," she said.

"How do you look at that on a screen?"

She said paper maps are vital to many people, including researchers, emergency services personnel and outdoor enthusiasts.

"What about if you're a hiker and you're out in the bush?" she asked.

"A compass and a GPS are not what you need. You need a map."