Japanese Value-Added Maps

Japanese map publishers are responding to the challenge of car navigation systems by shifting their focus to so-called “value-added maps,” the Asahi Shimbun reports in a profile of Maruzen, a Tokyo bookstore with a large map section.

According to [Jinbun-sha publishing executive Teruo] Ogawa, the sales of road maps have dropped sharply as drivers switch to car navigation systems. He says: “We stopped publishing road atlases for all prefectures except for the Kanto area three years ago because we were losing money. I think value-added maps will now become the norm.”

By value-added maps, they mean maps with extra features — historical, geopolitical, tourist-focused, trivia, even quizzes.