a "paper street" is a street or some map feature that exists only on the map and not in real life. Many map
makers employ a "paper street" (sometimes called a "key trap") to prevent competing map makers from simply copying their maps and selling them as if they did all the hard
surveying work themselves. A map maker can verify plagiarism
by seeing if the other map company dutifully recopied the paper street.
In the '20, Esso
had such a problem with other gas stations copying their maps that on their map for New York
state, they invented a "paper town" called Agloe.
Other key trap techniques include slightly altering the path of a single side street.
Larger, established map makers like Rand McNally
deny they employ the paper street technique to protect their maps.