Maps as Art

Artist John Petach makes stunning pieces of artwork from all kinds of maps. Discovery Map is honored to figure among his favorite “canvases.” Map Geek was thrilled to hear what John had to say about his art and his love for travel.

MG:Last winter you approached Discovery Map and asked for permission to use some of our maps in your artwork. How did you come across those Discovery Maps and why did they inspire you to use them as the canvas for your art?

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Fun Times in Map Making

Next time you pick up a Discovery Map or peruse the Discovery Map website, let your thoughts drift to the many stages of conception and production that go into every one of our maps. As I reported in Day in the Life of a Map Maker, from research, travel/exploration, layout/editing and coloring, there’s a tremendous amount of time and effort that goes into the creation of every Discovery Map destination. And not surprisingly, just like everything about our brand, there’s always a good dose of fun that goes into the making of our maps. So glad we’re not in the vacuum cleaner business! (Although I’m sure that has its entertaining sides as well.)

Telluride Downtown

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Old School Cool: Ski Maps

With Jack Frost peeping around the corner, I have one thing on the brain; mountains. Though I don’t consider myself an athlete, I do have an affinity for, you guessed it, ski maps. And, oh, how far they’ve come...as mountains have grown over time, so have the maps.

Ski maps today have come a long way from their original form, with apps to measure your speed, distance, and track your location. But, there is something to be said for the nostalgic blast from the past holding a paper map (ahem) gives you. Discovery Map knows a thing or two about paper maps, and certainly about ski destinations, considering some of our locations are in prime ski-territory. Below you’ll travel back in time to view the evolution of ski maps, and don’t worry; it’s all downhill from here:

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Guide to All Things Geographical

The average Joe may hear “map” and think highways, rivers and roads, but they may not realize how many types of maps exist. I mean, there are maps for almost everything - weather maps, political maps, even meteor maps! When I’m not on the road hitting the latest and greatest Discovery Map destination, I spend a lot of time (virtually) exploring using the various types of maps online. One of my favorite things about maps is their ability to keep you from getting lost while simultaneously opening the door to discovery. Below you’ll be able to check out my favorite digital maps and a couple cartographers who reveal much more than the correct turn to take.

Maps I Admire:

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Redefining Fall with Discovery Map

Fellow geography fans...you may know that Discovery Map is located in the heart of Vermont’s Green Mountains. And what better place on earth to be is there than right here during fall foliage, amid all this glorious and golden (and red, and orange, and purple) splendor? Well...because Discovery Map has an intimate knowledge of 130 destinations, they know that New England doesn’t have an exclusive on fall fun.

Many communities and cultures have distinctive traditions to celebrate the harvest season. Two of my favorite examples...first, while Oktoberfest is beloved worldwide, travelers seeking the truly quirky can take in the quackin’-action of the annual Entenrennen race in Tübingen, a university town in central Germany. Early October is when you’ll see as many as 7,000 rubber ducks dash down the Neckar River. Or, in the Swiss canton of Valais, cows butt heads, or perhaps butt herds, at the Battle of the Queens on October 1 to bring home the grand prize. Spectators can watch cows nudge each other in “combat” to see who will be crowned harvest queen (Queen Cow, that is).

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Day in the Life of a Map Maker

Blog Cropped Hand DrawToday 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?

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Map Out Your Summer

The AAA estimates a whopping 79% of families are taking to the road this summer to explore the nooks and crannies, and vast landscape, of America. If you're one of the 40 million map-users out there, we've got you covered!

Back in the old days, or what I call BA (Before Apple), parents did everything they could to keep us kids interested....and well-behaved. My parents traveled a lot and always loved maps (from treasure maps to plotting out Route 66) so I picked up the map bug as a kid. Your kids will pick up the bug too because now we've got kid-friendly maps with classic car games like (my personal favorite) the "License Plate Game."

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Maps I Wish Were Real

So many books, television shows and movies throughout history either center around or feature famous maps. These maps inspire characters and lead them on epic journeys, from Middle Earth and Narnia to Hogsmeade and Oz. And I just can’t help but think… what if they were real?

I mean, c’mon…how cool would that be?

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Instagram Sweepstakes Alert


Travel, Explore, Snap, and WIN! The Discovery Map staff, along with followers on Instagram are being treated to some beautiful photography of destinations all across the US and Canada. Active, pastoral, whimsical and stunning images are posted daily.

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Test Your Geo Skills!

A US Geography IQ survey of Americans by Discovery Map International found that nearly half of participants (46%) do not know how many states make up New England and nearly a quarter (22%) cannot name the capital of New York state. Just in time for holiday travel, Discovery Map International, creators of the colorful and functional maps used by 40 million people in more than 130 destinations, now invites travelers to test their geography IQ.

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