Are We About To See The Demise of the Humble Road Map?

Further to my piece on Channel 9 news last night about GPS units and how they are superceding map books. I believe that GPS systems are here to stay and are the next logical steps in mapping technology, which unfortunately means it is only a matter of a few years before map books will no longer exist.

Already there are rumours that UBD might not produce physical road maps this year. Being a stand-alone business owned by Telstra's directories arm, Sensis, it is possible that UBD might be absorbed by its parent, which is the provider of Whereis digital maps.

I for one don't like to see Australian businesses struggling, but the writing has been on the wall for a few years now with regard to road maps. Not only are there a plethora of different brands available, but the prices are coming down, and quite a few modern cars come with built-in systems. I know some of the older generation will swear by their map books, and the odd one will point out that some of the mapping software can be unreliable. However, over the past year or so, most of the providers have ironed out the kinks and I find my GPS device an excellent tool for getting out and about.

Now before the GPS manufacturers start nodding their heads in agreement, they too, need to look over their shoulders. These deals they have with car manufacturers aside, they need to be aware (as I'm sure most of them are) that smartphone suppliers are also doing deals with digital mapping providers to put apps in their phones as the recently announced Samsung/Navteq deal illustrates.

I'm thinking that in the near future you might see some exclusive deals done between GPS manufacturers and digital mapping suppliers, or a device provider buying into the information specialist.