Today: 17.08.2018
News
Opinion
Business
Living
Metro
Tech
Sport

Last News

18:14
Today
16:35
Today
15:34
Today
15:12
Today
14:56
Today
14:38
Today
14:25
Today
13:49
Today
13:23
Today
13:20
Today
13:11
Today
12:41
Today
12:30
Today
12:01
Today
11:56
Today
11:34
Today
11:24
Today
11:05
Today
10:46
Today
10:16
Today
10:05
Today
09:10
Today
08:59
Today
08:52
Today
08:44
Today
08:21
Today
05:49
Today
05:20
Today
05:04
Today
01:39
Today

Why GPS will never make the road atlas obsolete.

Peter Dalbis has been alive for 76 years, and at least 50 of those were spent following directions in Rand McNally road atlases. Dalbis didn’t stop using paper atlases when online competitors like MapQuest and Yahoo Maps came into vogue in the late ’90s, and he remains a stalwart Rand McNally supporter even in an...
Time: 11:23     Date: 26.05.2018
Last US News - Opinion: Why GPS will never make the road atlas obsolete. NY Post 24 - US News

Dalbis didn’t stop using paper atlases when online competitors like MapQuest and Yahoo Maps came into vogue in the late ’90s, and he remains a stalwart Rand McNally supporter even in an era where almost everyone has a GPS device in their back pocket.

“I want to open up an atlas and say, ‘Oh, here’s Colorado, here’s Route 26, this is where I want to go,’ ” he says. “GPS can’t give me that.”

Dalbis and his wife, who are both retired and living in Oak Park, Ill., have crisscrossed the nation several times, for both family vacations and work trips, and they’ve done it all with the only atlas brand he trusts — even when that atlas has been wrong.

“Sometimes there were missing roads,” he admits. “Or a road on the map that didn’t technically exist. But we’d figure it out. You can’t be complacent with an atlas, not like those people who put all their trust in a GPS. We never drove a car into a swamp because our Rand McNally told us to, I’ll tell you that much.”

Those “missing” roads are just one of the reasons that Rand McNally, the largest commercial mapmaker in the US, has published a new North America road atlas every year since 1924. “Each new edition features thousands of changes that could reflect anything from road changes to a name change of a town or geographical feature update,” says Alexis Sadoti, a spokesperson for Rand McNally. The just-released 95th edition, which covers all 50 US states and Canadian provinces, is no exception.

Changes this year include updated information on interstates 69, 95, and 11, an expanded view of the Jersey Shore and a new “detail map” of national parks like Grand Canyon and Yosemite.

Keeping the atlas as accurate as possible year to year, in a digital age when drivers expect their maps to give up-to-the-minute traffic updates, is no small task. “We have a fixed page and a fixed number of pages, so there’s not a lot of flexibility there,” says Tom Vitacco, who’s worked with the company for 33 years; first as a cartographer in the mid-’80s and today as the director of GIS (geographic information systems). “Every page has to fit states as big as Texas and as small as Delaware,” he tells me from Skokie, Ill., the world headquarters of Rand McNally.

The 2018 Rand McNally atlas includes a new Jersey Shore inset map, with details on the Asbury Park Boardwalk and Monmouth Park Racetrack, among other points of interest.justingriffin

“Obviously you can’t show nearly as much of Texas or Alaska as you can of Delaware, so we have to get creative.” If a new monument or park pops up in an already overcrowded geographic area, his cartography team has to decide if including it means any towns or roads have to be, in his words, “sacrificed.”

It’s easy to forget how much this atlas was ingrained in driving culture, and for how long. Rand McNally was founded as a printing company that worked mostly with railroads. They published their first road map for cars in 1904 (covering “New York City & Vicinity”), and their first road atlas, the “Auto Chum,” in 1924. The debut countrywide atlas featured hand-drawn maps of all 48 states — Alaska and Hawaii were not yet part of the union — and included only paved roads, zero miles of interstate and no index.

If you wanted to find a town and didn’t know where it was located, you had to flip through the pages until you found its name in the fine print.

They soon became ubiquitous with driving in America. Rand McNally owned the mapping world in the 20th century. Nearly every automobile had one, as did every school and gas station. Even Charles Lindbergh navigated with one in his plane. McNally didn’t just map the nation’s highways, it helped shape them.

They were the first to instigate numbered highways, because the long names were taking up too much room on their maps. (John Brink, a McNally draftsman, came up with the idea and was rewarded for his innovation with a $100 bonus.) It took a few years, but the numbering system was eventually adopted by state and federal highway authorities.

They had the occasional snafu — in 1989, the company came under fire for omitting North Dakota, South Dakota and Oklahoma from the atlas, reportedly for “space limitations” — but for the most part, Rand McNally dominated the century. Their annual sales passed $100 million during the ’70s, according to The Encyclopedia of Chicago, and they opened retail stores across the country in the late ’80s.

In the next century, they tried to adapt to new technology, developing electronic navigation systems for long-haul truckers and a portable dashboard tablet designed for older vehicles. But by 2003, they were $400 million in debt and declaring bankruptcy. (They just barely survived, thanks to an investment from buyout firm Leonard Green & Partners.) The paper atlas remains their signature item, and the company insists that business has never been better. While they declined to share exact numbers, a spokesperson claims that sales were up 5 percent in 2017 and have been climbing steadily for years. They also declined to share details on their customer demographics, but if you ask around (as we did) it’s pretty clear that their base leans older.

But there’s also Ken Jennings, the 44-year-old “Jeopardy!” contestant (his six-month winning streak from 2004 has yet to be beat) and author of 2011’s “Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks,” who still uses his Rand McNally atlas. “I love it very much,” he says. “It usually lives on my bookshelf but goes into the car for road trips. It’s true that a phone GPS can do most of what a road atlas can, but a Rand McNally road atlas is pretty much a cultural talisman of the open road at this point.”

A McNally atlas may not have magical powers, but as Peter Dalbis reminds us, it’s unlikely to send you into a swamp. You can’t say the same for GPS. In a 2018 insurance company survey, 77 percent of drivers who describe themselves as “rarely distracted” admitted to viewing GPS navigation while behind the wheel. (Just 10 percent admitted to texting or e-mailing.) And all that GPS use has resulted in some truly staggering accidents over the years, with cars plowing into bike trails, railroad tracks and even houses. Earlier this year, a Vermont driver steered his car into a lake on the advice of his navigation app Waze.

In 2017, cars ended up in Massachusetts lakes and Ontario ponds because drivers chose to believe GPS instead of their own eyes. A Californian woman sued Google Maps for $100,000, claiming their “reckless and negligent” directions caused her to walk onto a busy highway and suffer “severe permanent physical, emotional and mental injuries.” Unsurprisingly, her lawsuit was thrown out of court.

Paper atlases have their own accuracy problems. One of the biggest headaches for Vitacco is monitoring new highways and interstates, which don’t always get completed on schedule. Like Interstate 11, which was first proposed in 2012 as a highway corridor between Phoenix and Las Vegas, Nevada (eventually stretching from Canada to Mexico), but every year there was the question of whether it’d be finished (or finished enough) to be included in the McNally atlas.

“We can’t put it in too early, because then people will want to drive it and it’s not even open yet,” Vitacco says. “But we can’t put it in too late ’cause then we miss our print window and everyone will write in and say ‘Where’s Interstate 11?’ ” They opted to add the mostly completed Interstate 11 in the latest edition, “but it was a nail-biter,” Vitacco says.

Customer feedback is something that Rand McNally takes seriously, or at least claims to. “The e-mail address on the atlas, that comes right to us,” Vitacco insists. “I answer every one of them, because it’s important.” Before e-mail, customers shared their praise or criticism via the feedback cards provided with every atlas.

New additions include Interstate 11, which runs from Nevada to the Hoover Dam, and the Gold Butte National Monument.justingriffin

Amanda Cohen, who now lives in Los Angeles, was a contract employee for Rand McNally during the early 2000s, and her job involved reading and recording all of those customer reviews. She still remembers some of her favorites: “The dirt road to the lake isn’t in there. Why not?”

“Why don’t you show where all the mailboxes are?”

“Why does this map not tell me if this is a left turn or a right turn?”

“There’s a new street in this town but I’m not going to tell you where because I’m not going to do your job for you.”

Fans of the Rand McNally atlas can be an eccentric bunch. But when they explain why they still use something as antiquated as an atlas in a world dominated by GPS, they make a convincing case. Jeff Schramm, a professor at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Mo., keeps a Rand McNally atlas in his car at all times.

“GPS navigation doesn’t give you the big picture, and it doesn’t tell you what’s up ahead other than your next turn,” he says. He has questions that GPS can’t answer, like “How far to the next rest stop?” “How many miles until the next good-sized town for food?”

“What was that river we just passed?”

GPS, with its horse-in-blinders perspective, will never have the context of an atlas. And what’s more, an atlas forces you to be an active participant in your own travels.

As that confused customer wrote to the McNally cartographers almost two decades ago, “Why does this map not tell me if this is a left turn or a right turn?” Because it’s a map, not a sherpa.

Every decision is yours; there’s no disembodied voice demanding your blind obedience even if it doesn’t know what the hell it’s talking about. “With GPS, you’re giving over your sense of where you are in the world to a machine,” says Bret Scott, 48, a longtime Rand McNally atlas owner who lives in Alpine, Texas.

“With an atlas, if I missed my turn, that’s usually on me. But because it’s on me, I’m interacting with the real world, looking for landmarks, using my mind to be present. “I’m not a Luddite,” Scott says. “I love technology. But I also like knowing where I am.”

Rand McNally atlases may not be going anywhere, but it remains to be seen if the newest edition flies off shelves.

Dalbis, who claims his dog-eared copy has never left his car, hasn’t bought a new Rand McNally atlas in years. “It’s falling apart, but it works just fine,” he insists.

Asked if he’s planning on buying the 95th edition, he just shrugs.

“Probably not,” he says. “I’ll get a new one when this one disintegrates.”

Opinion

Last US News - Opinion: John Brennan’s Trumpian turn and other commentary. NY Post 24 - US News
John Brennan’s Trumpian turn and other commentary.
Media critic: John Brennan’s Trumpian Turn President Trump is the last person to complain about being roughed up by a trash-talker,...
Last US News - Opinion: Jumaane Williams has a tax question meltdown. NY Post 24 - US News
Jumaane Williams has a tax question meltdown.
Jumaane Williams had a meltdown Thurs­day because a Post reporter had the audacity to ask a few simple questions about his...
Last US News - Opinion: Why de Blasio has gone begging to real-estate bigwigs. NY Post 24 - US News
Why de Blasio has gone begging to real-estate bigwigs.
The Post’s Aug. 12 scoop that Mayor de Blasio’s top deputies held scores of previously undisclosed meetings with real-estate...
Last US News - Opinion: The global lobbying to appease North Korea is going strong. NY Post 24 - US News
The global lobbying to appease North Korea is going strong.
When dealing with the Kim Jong-un conundrum, watch out for premature Yoko Ono-like “war is over” declarations. False...

Opinion

Last US News - Opinion: John Brennan’s Trumpian turn and other commentary. NY Post 24 - US News
John Brennan’s Trumpian turn and other commentary.
Media critic: John Brennan’s Trumpian Turn President Trump is the last person to complain about being roughed up by a trash-talker,...
Last US News - Opinion: Jumaane Williams has a tax question meltdown. NY Post 24 - US News
Jumaane Williams has a tax question meltdown.
Jumaane Williams had a meltdown Thurs­day because a Post reporter had the audacity to ask a few simple questions about his...
Last US News - Opinion: Why de Blasio has gone begging to real-estate bigwigs. NY Post 24 - US News
Why de Blasio has gone begging to real-estate bigwigs.
The Post’s Aug. 12 scoop that Mayor de Blasio’s top deputies held scores of previously undisclosed meetings with real-estate...
Last US News - Opinion: The global lobbying to appease North Korea is going strong. NY Post 24 - US News
The global lobbying to appease North Korea is going strong.
When dealing with the Kim Jong-un conundrum, watch out for premature Yoko Ono-like “war is over” declarations. False...
Last US News - Opinion: How the ‘center’ became unimportant in US politics. NY Post 24 - US News
How the ‘center’ became unimportant in US politics.
If there’s a single idea that has defined the politics of the last 70 years it is the notion of “the center.” What...

Living

US Living News: Porn stars using Fortnite in quest for online fame and fortune. NY Post 24 - US News
Porn stars using Fortnite in quest for online fame and fortune.
Porn stars have turned to video games as a new way to build their brands online – streaming their play sessions to the...
US Living News: Fat cat who walks on hind legs is the internet’s new favorite kitty. NY Post 24 - US News
Fat cat who walks on hind legs is the internet’s new favorite kitty.
Talk about a purr-fect adoption. Bruno is a seven-year-old, 25-pound cat who’s looking looking for a home. On Friday,...
US Living News: 100-million-year-old beetle found perfectly preserved in tree sap. NY Post 24 - US News
100-million-year-old beetle found perfectly preserved in tree sap.
Fossilized tree sap, called amber, is an absolutely amazing substance. It lasts for an incredibly long time and it has yielded...
US Living News: Here’s scientific proof that online dating sucks for women. NY Post 24 - US News
Here’s scientific proof that online dating sucks for women.
These are research findings to swipe left on. The “desirability” of women online daters peaks at age 18, according to...
US Living News: Your taste in music says a lot about your bank account. NY Post 24 - US News
Your taste in music says a lot about your bank account.
Rich people march to a different tune. The richest Americans may be way more likely to listen to classical music — which...
US Living News: Southwest Airlines now allowing mini horses as service animals. NY Post 24 - US News
Southwest Airlines now allowing mini horses as service animals.
An airline rule change will allow miniature horses on board if they are classed as service animals. Southwest Airlines announced...
US Living News: Scientists finally figure out the perfect way to break spaghetti. NY Post 24 - US News
Scientists finally figure out the perfect way to break spaghetti.
With all the incredible medical and technological advancements coming out of the scientific community these days, you might...
US Living News: Cutting carbs is linked to dying young. NY Post 24 - US News
Cutting carbs is linked to dying young.
Eating pasta could help you live longer, a new study suggests. Following low-carb diets, such as Atkins, increases the risk...

Business

Last US Business News: Tesla shares down 8 percent after Musk’s bizarre interview. NY Post 24 - US News
Tesla shares down 8 percent after Musk’s bizarre interview.
Tesla investors tapped the breaks on Friday morning, pushing shares of the electric car maker down 8 percent after unsettling...
Last US Business News: Trump asks SEC to study six-month reporting system for public firms. NY Post 24 - US News
Trump asks SEC to study six-month reporting system for public firms.
President Trump wants regulators to study a move that would loosen the reins on public companies. The president on Friday...
Last US Business News: Elon Musk says he’s working 120 hours a week, sometimes takes Ambien to sleep. NY Post 24 - US News
Elon Musk says he’s working 120 hours a week, sometimes takes Ambien to sleep.
Electric car maker Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has admitted in a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times that stress...
Last US Business News: Stocks soar nearly 400 points as Dow sees best day in months. NY Post 24 - US News
Stocks soar nearly 400 points as Dow sees best day in months.
Stocks shook off global fears Thursday, paving the way for the Dow Jones industrial average to clock its best day in four...
Last US Business News: SEC reportedly began Tesla probe last year. NY Post 24 - US News
SEC reportedly began Tesla probe last year.
Federal regulators began a probe into Tesla last year, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. The Securities and...
Last US Business News: Hackers target thousands of bank emails in cyber attack. NY Post 24 - US News
Hackers target thousands of bank emails in cyber attack.
An international phishing campaign was launched Thursday against roughly 2,700 bank domains — including Bank of America...
Last US Business News: Ex-employee: Tesla concealed drug trafficking at its factory. NY Post 24 - US News
Ex-employee: Tesla concealed drug trafficking at its factory.
Tesla’s month from hell is showing no signs of slowing down. The electric-car maker, still reeling from CEO Elon Musk’s...
Last US Business News: MoviePass adds new restrictions on subscribers. NY Post 24 - US News
MoviePass adds new restrictions on subscribers.
The plot twists keep coming for MoviePass. In a Thursday note to subscribers, CEO Mitch Lowe detailed the newest restrictions...

Metro

Metro News: Man found guilty of training dogs to compete in deadly fights. NY Post 24 - US News
Man found guilty of training dogs to compete in deadly fights.
A Bronx man was found guilty Friday of buying and training dogs to compete in fight-to-the-death matches against other canines....
Metro News: Mistress hits man in face with bat after he ends affair: cops. NY Post 24 - US News
Mistress hits man in face with bat after he ends affair: cops.
She’s got one hell of a swing. A woman having an affair with a married man hit his jaw with a mini baseball bat, robbed...
Metro News: Ocasio-Cortez bans media from community meetings. NY Post 24 - US News
Ocasio-Cortez bans media from community meetings.
Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez banned the press from two community meetings in The Bronx and Queens that...
Metro News: Drug dealer mistakenly mails crystal meth to Apple Store. NY Post 24 - US News
Drug dealer mistakenly mails crystal meth to Apple Store.
A drug dealer put a new spin on high “speed” technology when he accidentally sent a large package of crystal meth to...
Metro News: CVS worker stabs teen inside Upper East Side store. NY Post 24 - US News
CVS worker stabs teen inside Upper East Side store.
An employee at an Upper East Side CVS stabbed a teen for possibly stealing at the drugstore chain Friday, police sources...
Metro News: Pot growers get prison for blast that killed firefighter. NY Post 24 - US News
Pot growers get prison for blast that killed firefighter.
Two men linked to the pot grow-house explosion that killed FDNY Battalion Chief Michael Fahy in The Bronx in 2016 were slapped...
Metro News: Dennis Shields told responding cops he took drug cocktail. NY Post 24 - US News
Dennis Shields told responding cops he took drug cocktail.
A fatal mixture of drugs led to the overdose death of Bethenny Frankel’s on-again, off-again boyfriend in Trump Tower,...
Metro News: Robber who forced couples to have sex at gunpoint gets 148 years in prison. NY Post 24 - US News
Robber who forced couples to have sex at gunpoint gets 148 years in prison.
A sicko who forced couples to have sex at gunpoint inside New Jersey motels while he robbed them has been sentenced to 148...

Sport

Last US Sport News: ESPN desperate to avoid getting trapped in anthem controversy. NY Post 24 - US News
ESPN desperate to avoid getting trapped in anthem controversy.
ESPN is hoping its approach to a national anthem policy goes over better than the NFL’s. While player protests during the...
Last US Sport News: LaVar Ball league stiffed me and is ducking my calls: Ex-player. NY Post 24 - US News
LaVar Ball league stiffed me and is ducking my calls: Ex-player.
You can add another name to the list of people LaVar Ball has rubbed the wrong way. Brandon Phillips, a former Junior Basketball...
Last US Sport News: Todd Bowles has to choose Jets’ quarterback future right now. NY Post 24 - US News
Todd Bowles has to choose Jets’ quarterback future right now.
It is the type of decision that can make or break a head coach’s career. Sam Darnold or Teddy Bridgewater or, if he...
Last US Sport News: Giants’ free safety battle won’t be only big Pat Shurmur decision. NY Post 24 - US News
Giants’ free safety battle won’t be only big Pat Shurmur decision.
DETROIT — Every day, in every way, Pat Shurmur and the Giants are thinking about what their team will look like. Today,...
Last US Sport News: The under-the-radar stories from Yankees’ magical 1998 run. NY Post 24 - US News
The under-the-radar stories from Yankees’ magical 1998 run.
The 1998 Yankees were a phenomenal, colorfully efficient team. They were so colorful, with so many memorable characters,...