BUSINESS MapQuest goes back to basics
The famous Internet company will produce paper maps and travel guides.
NEW YORK (AP) -- MapQuest is going back to the future.
Known for providing instant directions from its Web site, www.mapquest.com, the company will soon be producing maps and guides in a much older medium -- books.
MapQuest, which is owned by America Online, recently announced the formation of MapQuest Publishing.
The new business unit of the AOL subsidiary will produce road atlases and travel guidebooks, along with laminated street maps.
However, MapQuest Publishing is actually a throwback to a company that existed long before anybody thought of getting directions from the Internet. In the 1960s, the publisher R.R. Donnelley & amp; Sons began printing road maps designed by a group of cartographers based in Mountville, Pa. Those maps were supplied to companies like Michelin and Mobil and sold at gas stations. MapQuest still employs mapmakers at the Freile Research Center in Mountville.
MapQuest Publishing's titles will include:
USix versions of a classic North American road atlas, including large-print and pocket-sized editions.
USpecial interest travel guides focusing on topics like sports, camping and college searches. "College Quest: The Right Place Guide to Colleges and Universities" will help students find the best location for important extracurricular activities like skiing and surfing -- in addition to offering advice for those with lofty academic ambitions. Other titles include "Auto Racing Track Guide and Atlas" and "Campground/RV Park Guide and Atlas."
U"Find It" maps for 20 cities and 38 states, featuring zoos, parks, museums, golf courses, historic sites and other attractions.
MapQuest.com has more than 41 million monthly users, according to comScore Media Metrix, a research firm.
The new line of books will be distributed by Time Warner, which owns AOL, to various retail outlets nationwide.
They are expected to be available by midsummer.