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Print-On-Demand Maps Coming From 3M and USGS
Released: 8/14/1996

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Rebecca Phipps 1-click interview
Phone: 703-648-4460

Print-on-demand maps are coming soon, thanks to a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Geological Survey and 3M of St. Paul, Minn.

The two organizations have signed a cooperative agreement for the USGS to develop on-demand alternatives to hard copy maps and for 3M to develop a series of commercial instant map-printing systems.

The new print-on-demand capability will provide an alternative to the traditional USGS printed map products. For example, a customer will be able to print a specific topographic map in a matter of minutes.

A long-term benefit for the USGS is to maintain a map inventory designed to meet the demand for specific products while improving customer service.

"3M engineers have a long history of creating innovative graphic products," said Richard Witmer, acting chief of the USGS National Mapping Division. "We’re pleased that they will be working with USGS cartographers on the technology needed to develop on-demand electronic printing systems.

"We think that this partnership will improve our responsiveness to our customers by creating systems that will give immediate access to all USGS map products.

"And we encourage proposals from other private sector organizations for cooperative work in support of the USGS mission," Witmer said.

The partnership will develop a high-volume map printing system for the USGS to use in its production facilities and a low-cost, point-of-sale map printing system for retail sales and other commercial applications. Cooperative agreements - called Cooperative Research and Development Agreements - or CRADA’s - are being used increasingly by the USGS and private organizations. As the nation’s largest civilian mapping agency, the USGS has more than 74,000 map titles in stock and distributes more than 6 million maps annually to people around the world.

The USGS serves the nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.

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