News: Falling sales see paper maps surrender to sat nav

Lost in the crease


THE DAYS of the dog-eared road atlas in the glove compartment are numbered: 2014 is expected to be the first year in which the majority of drivers use sat navs.

Figures from the National Travel Survey, published last week by the Department for Transport, show that millions more drivers are putting their trust in electronic gadgets and avoiding the peril of navigating junctions that have got lost in the crease.

The study of almost 13,000 English households found that 48% of cars on the road last year were used with a sat nav, up from 40% in 2011. The figures include vehicles with dashboard sat navs, as well as drivers who use portable devices, such as smartphones running Google Maps or the TomTom app. The trend is expected to continue.

Sales of paper maps have fallen fast. In 2009 1.37m road atlases and maps were sold, according to Nielsen BookScan, which compiles The Sunday Times bestsellers list. That dropped to 751,154 last year.

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