in Just for Fun
Today there’s a real treat in store for my fellow map lovers. I recently sat down with one of our real-life mapmakers to get insights on how a map is actually made. Hand-drawn maps like Discovery Map’s are really and truly hand drawn. So buckle up! You're about to see how the magic happens.
Map Geek (MG): Let's start by giving folks the lay of the land. How would you sum up modern day map making?
Map Maker (MM): It all starts with the franchisee. We're a franchise organization, so first we sell a map territory (like the Big Island in Hawaii) to an entrepreneur, whose job it is to sell those colorful ads on the border of the map. Once we have our entrepreneur, we work together to begin our four phases of production; research, travel/exploration, layout/editing, and coloring. As a start, the Discovery Map production team studies the territory using Bing and Google Maps to plan our initial visit where we will search high and low for the most important locations (think hotels, restaurants, attractions, and more). We plan our map-making venture by determining what roads and areas we'll travel to see the sights.
MG: Cool! And then you hit the road, right?
MM: That’s right… first, we think big, and for a few days explore a shiny new territory, while taking detailed notes in Scribble Maps. We collect info on buildings, interesting sites, new construction and attractions. Once that's done, we review the notes with the franchisee while everyone brainstorms how best to lay out the map and plot the territory; then, we head back to the office where a team member draws a mock up. After that’s approved, we get mighty specific and collect the dirty details including photos of buildings, landmarks, and points of interest using Bing, Google Maps, and photos from the franchisee. After that, this giant package lands in the lap of a Map Artist who creates a black and white version of the map. Once that's done, a production team member works their magic to color the map. (It’s alive!)
MG: So, it’s really a mix of high-tech and high-touch…about how long does the process take?
MM: It might surprise people to learn that it takes at least three months to create a map because we thoroughly explore every new territory by car, and foot when possible, and we take copious, detailed notes. Plus, we have to capture every single building, though (hat-tip to modern technology) Bing and Google Maps help a lot with that now. Back in the "old days," we used cameras to take pictures, but today, satellite allows us to get a bird's eye view of nearly every building.
MG: Before we sign off, anything else to share Map Maker?
MM: People might be interested to know how hard we work to ensure local flavor is baked into every map, making each one more unique than the last. Our maps don’t just guide you down the road less traveled, but are actually edited annually to ensure no two maps are ever the same. Each Discovery Map has thought and character handpicked for adventure-seekers, making the maps not only a handy resource, but to some, a collector’s item. When you live like a local and walk a mile in Discovery Map’s shoes you could see anything, from a pair of alien statues to a skydiving Elvis.
MG: And on that note, thank you, thank you very much!