In the age of screens, at least one analog source is still relevant.
This week, digital-focused Garmin International made clear paper is still in its long-term plan.
The gangly headline of a press release — Garmin Announces Decision to Continue the Manufacturing of Heralded DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer Product Line for all 50 States — was followed by the qualifier explaining that paper atlases continue to be in strong demand “even as digital alternatives continue to proliferate.”
Garmin acquired DeLorme earlier this year. A Maine-based company founded in 1976, DeLorme has long employed a dedicated cartography staff and produced an extensive library of maps. This includes its oversize atlases and gazetteers for all 50 states.
The first one was the Maine Atlas & Gazetteer, published in 1976 by David DeLorme. Since then, the company replicated the model for all the U.S. states, including editing and re-publishing them every few years.
Road Trip Essential
We have long loved the big map books for road trips and exploration. Before smartphones and Google Maps, an atlas like those from DeLorme was a crucial navigation tool.
Garmin notes the paper versions remain loved as well as relevant. “In states with large gaps in cellular coverage, such as Maine, and many western states, they are an invaluable tool for on- and off-road navigation, trip planning and as a backup for electronic navigation devices,” Daniel McFetridge, a company representative, said.
The DeLorme atlas books combine digital cartography with “human editing.” A staff of cartographers in Yarmouth, Maine, are responsible for revising and updating the atlas series.
Map Books As Outdoor Guide
Map details include dirt roads, trails, elevation contours, lakes and streams, boat put-ins, public lands for recreation use, campgrounds, and more. A company slogan is “mapping America’s back roads.”
Beyond the maps, the DeLorme books include the gazetteer section, which has summaries of recreational activities, including “where to fish, bike, and canoe, as well as museums, parks, trails, campgrounds, and numerous outdoor and family adventures.”
The DeLorme atlases will continue to be sold in major retailers and bookstores. But one change: At the end of this year, the direct online sales will move to Garmin.com, where the brand’s GPS units, watches, and various digital devices will share a space with their paper cousins.