Aus govt mapping agency halts paper maps printing

Australian Government’s mapping agency, Geoscience Australia, has announced that it will soon cease to print large scale topographic maps.

The agency said, in a statement, that as a result of “failing demand” it will stop printing its large scale topographic maps (1:50 000, 1:100 000, 1:250 000 and over 1:500 000) and will solely make them available online.

This move will take effect from 13 December 2019.

Geoscience Australia acting chief of the environmental geoscience division Dr Martine Woolf said the move reiterates its commitment towards the community in providing fast and easy access to its mapping services.

Dr Woolf added that the move will not impact tourists much as these maps are used for high-level planning rather than on-the-ground activities such as hiking and navigating around town.

“Even though this feels like a new change for people, Geoscience Australia has provided maps online for over 10 years,” he said.

“Over a number of years, we’ve seen a rapid decline in demand for hardcopy maps and we can no longer sustain the storage, maintenance and delivery costs of our paper map services.

“We understand people really value hard copy maps – we also love maps here at Geoscience Australia, and we’re committed to providing the best information available.

“There are a number of commercial and state-run services that can provide printed topographic information across the same scale as the maps we previously provided in hard copy.”

Dr Woolf addressed the advantages to using digital maps, which includes better access to up-to-date and reliant topographic information.

“We believe the future of topographic maps is in providing accurate and freely available information for anyone, anywhere to create their own maps – for example, our maps are covered by Creative Commons and can be recreated by commercial businesses with the attribution to Geoscience Australia,” he mentioned.

“If people need a printed hardcopy map at short notice, they can also download our maps and take them to a local provider to print at the size and quality to suit their needs.”

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