In cartography 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.