Nano Bits. When Nano Meets Print.

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Monday, 23 March 2015 | By Gerry Mulvaney


By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing

We have got the Scots and the French to thank for our comprehensive UK mapping system produced by Ordnance Survey (OS), a government body charged with mapping the United Kingdom and producing printed and digital maps for business and leisure use.

Apparently in the 1700s when the Jacobite Scots were rebelling, it was decided to map Scotland for military purposes. From these early beginnings and with one eye on the revolution occurring across the English Channel, where the aristocracy were getting their heads chopped off, the British army started to map the south coast of England in case Napoleon decided to invade England.

Once the threat from France subsided and the industrial revolution began, the need to create a detailed map of the whole United Kingdom (and Ireland at the time) meant that the cartographers of the Ordnance Survey were kept pretty busy with their theodolites and drawing boards and by the late 1800s the job was complete.

At the head office in Southampton a large printing works was established to satisfy the demand for maps from government, business and the population at large, who were increasingly using OS maps for recreation. I have accumulated much of the output from the OS printing department over the years and used it to explore the UK.

In recent times the advent of technology in the form of GPS, tablets and smartphones has embraced personal navigation, and the ubiquitous Google Maps has become the standard app for any tech savvy traveller. OS has also embraced the modern era and digitised its maps and there are a number of apps such as Anquet, Tom-Tom and Magellan which use the data supplied by OS.

Mapping a Road to Success with the Nanography® Printing Process

You would think by now that printed maps would have long since gone out of fashion. So it has come a rather a surprise to read an announcement by OS that sales of the printed version of their products increased by 3% last year and in this year to date the increase has now risen to 7%. What can be the cause of this reversion to ink on paper?

OS printed maps in the UK

Ordnance Survey’s printed maps

Well, from my own experience of walking 194 miles across the North of England last year on the Coast to Coast Walk, my Anquet app on my iPhone certainly kept me on track, but I would not have enjoyed the experience as much without my OS printed version which showed a much bigger picture of the landscape we were traversing and of course, not being battery powered, was always available! It seems that maps are yet another product of the printing press that won’t lie down and die.

Knowing the very high quality images, on a variety of substrates I have seen coming off the Landa S10 Nanographic Printing® Press in Israel, I wouldn’t bet against the Nanography® printing process finding a niche in this market too. Personalisation, versioning and print on demand will no doubt find their way into cartography alongside a myriad of other applications.

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Landa S10 - Printing Press