Map stores adapt to the Digital Age

CREATED Jul 18, 2013

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  • The Map Store in Wauwatosa

  • Image by Erik Bilstad

WAUWATOSA - The Digital Age is here to stay and it's forcing the map industry to adapt.

When you walk into The Map Store, 3720 N. 124th Street, you find just about every type of map, globe, or atlas you'd ever need.

"We have maps for every one of the 193 countries in the UN," said Jan Swain, V.P. of Milwaukee Map Service.  Swain has been in the map business for nearly a half century.  He first noticed the Digital Age about 20 years ago.

"It has changed (business) drastically," Swain said.  "(Business) is down about 60%."

Urban sprawl has helped Swain's company, which has two cartographers are on staff. 

"We have contractors coming into the community all the time," he explained.  "First thing they want to do is have a city plan drawn up."

Despite the increase in smart-phone use, Swain believes maps will always have their place.

"People want something to hold," he said.

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