I hypothesize that maps become fancier in response to the need people had for them. This seems simple enough, but a while ago, it was unclear to my simple mind what came first: the demand for a more encompassing map software or the map software itself? If we take a brief look at the history of maps, we can discover hundreds of years of mapmaking for the sake of convenience. People made maps for commerce, for astrology and agriculture, to map out where God was blowing his mighty winds (this one is my favorite actually). 

A large debate within cartography (the study of maps) is whether maps can be perfectly objective. Can we make a map that doesn’t happen to include the US or Europe central like it usually is on our minds? Can we create a map that gives equitable space and sufficient justice to the size and landscape of various nations? Brian McClendon, an executive at Google, thinks Google can create that perfect map. Google’s solution is comprehensiveness. Capture every nook and cranny of this Earth - by satellite, camera, landscaping, anything.

 'Ok, hon, I'm on Google Earth now... I see a parking sport!'

But the size and concentrated detail of this world are not the only things maps now have to capture to be considered perfect or even ideal. Until relatively recently, the purpose for maps was very clear: how do I get from point A to point B? But maps no longer include just freeways and streets. They now integrate community information like local businesses, community centers, transportation, etc. Maps are brimming with links to websites, operation hours, reviews, menus, pictures, recommendations, and more. Our definition of a map is changing much like the iPhone 4 is now the iPhone 6s (or, whichever is coming out next). Modern maps are constantly-updated geographical encyclopedias, not static paintings. 

It’s not just the content of maps that are changing. The medium is changing too. As you must have noticed, long forgotten are those big folded maps you once bought in gas stations. You would now buy one of those as a souvenir, a cute trinket of a less digital time. Directions to the entire world are just fingertips away on your phone now. You can get directions on your laptop or desktop (and you don’t even have to print them out before leaving the house because, well, phones). Many cars now come with installed GPS systems that guide drivers the entire way. And all of these have Siri, Cortana, or whatever you named that friendly automated voice that keeps you from getting lost or bored.

For industries that rely on location and movement, these changes are having significant impacts. Sales is still based on interaction and, thus, dependent on meetings. Location, punctuality, and scheduling is crucial. Such important details cannot all be resolved with a paper map alone. Badger Maps is proud to have developed a map that can offer so much to the sales occupation, or to any occupation that needs maps to be data libraries as well. We are keeping up with growing needs because salespeople now have more information available to them. They should not have to juggle various customer management, scheduling, and routing software programs to organize their day.We have grown accustomed to having all of these merged into single, life-saving apps (Yelp, Calendar, Maps or any of many others). 

Modern maps have allowed industries like sales to expand in scope and efficiency. In any case, maps are not just different. They’re better. They’re catching up to us, gradually becoming companions and professional sidekicks in an ever-changing digital routing landscape.

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