Printed Topo Maps No More

Claire Drabsch said paper maps were crucial for trekkers to get a true sense of the landscape. ( Oliver Gordon)

Printed Topo Maps No More

Geoscience Australia to stop printing and selling topographic maps from December

Posted on 04.10.2019

Bushwalkers and map sellers say the decision to stop printing and selling topographic maps for Australia will put people’s safety at risk and impact on our understanding of remote Australia.

The ABC can reveal the Commonwealth agency that prints and issues the maps, Geoscience Australia, will print its last run on Friday, December 13 this year.

In a world of Google Maps and GPS navigation devices, people simply are not buying them, according to Geoscience Australia chief scientist Dr Steven Hill.

“The demand for printed hardcopy maps has decreased quite rapidly,” he said.

“The costs of storing and maintaining those maps, and updating them in a printed form, is becoming increasingly large, so the value proposition is not there in the way that it used to be.”

‘They’re really important to us’

For those who trek through remote Australia, paper maps are still essential, according to Claire Drabsch, a tour guide with Trek Tours Australia.

“The maps are really important for us to have in the field — not only from a safety point of view, but also from an interest point of view and an education point of view for our guests,” she said.

Key points

  • The agency responsible for the country’s geographical information will stop printing paper maps from December
  • All Geoscience Australia maps that are currently printed will be available for free download
  • Critics of the move point to the limitations of readily available digital maps

Emilia Terzon 
and Oliver Gordon
ABC News





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