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Why use a Cartographer?

  1. We ensure your map is up-to-date and as accurate as possible.
  2. We ensure your map is innovative, eye-catching and useable.
  3. We ensure your map has an artistic focus as well as a sound technical structure.
  4. We ensure your data is being represented correctly, so meaningful conclusions can be interpreted from the map.
  5. We draw upon a diversity of credible sources, including physical, natural and demographic data.
  6. We ensure your map is an effective communication tool by paying close attention to the basic principles of graphic design.
  7. We ensure your map production process is carefully planned so that important pieces of information aren’t overlooked.
  8. We ensure your map doesn’t become just another map that says less and less about our environment, people and cultures (like most maps do today).
  9. We create the best possible cartographic representation of our incredibly complex world.
  10. We ensure your map won’t breach copyright by drawing upon hundreds of demap’s copyright free databases.

At best, a map that is poorly thought-out and designed can be misleading, at worst it is just plain wrong!
(Elements of Cartography, 5th Ed)

What is a custom map, and why would I need one?

A custom map is one designed to your specifications. If you are already using a map in your business, you might find that it:

  1. Doesn’t accurately cover your location or region;
  2. Doesn’t indicate the location or symbol of your business;
  3. Doesn’t contain all the information you want;
  4. Contains other information that you don’t need;
  5. Presents information in a way that distracts from the purpose of the map;
  6. Doesn’t show enough detail;
  7. Shows too much detail;
  8. Is out-of-date;
  9. Isn’t very accurate;
  10. Is fuzzy or hard to read;
  11. Can’t be scaled up-or-down to fit your publication;
  12. Isn’t made for responsive design;
  13. Is very unappealing, (it looks like it has been drawn by an amateur);
  14. Isn’t in keeping with your publication or branding: the colours and typeface are too different;
  15. Doesn’t suit your corporate image or audience;
  16. May breach copyright and potentially mean your publication is withdrawn from sale;
  17. Isn’t suitable to be printed at high quality, because the resolution isn’t sharp enough.

If one or a number of the points above apply to your existing map then you need a custom map.

Please don’t hesitate to contact demap and we will talk you through the various options available to you.

So how do you make a custom map?

Surely the world has already been mapped many times over? This is a question we hear on a regular basis.

Of course the world has been mapped many times before using GPS (Global Positioning System), satellite imagery, and surveying techniques. However, the earth is continually changing, as are the man-made and natural features on the earth. Coastlines alter relatively quickly over time, new motorways are built, places change their names, states and countries merge or split. Thematic information like traffic data, social data, and demographics data changes every second in some instances. Dealing with these complex and challenging temporal changes is what a cartographer deals with on a daily basis.

As cartographers we make sure we build maps and apps that are able to keep up-to-date with these changes so that our maps and your users receive the most up-to-date information. We build maps that are scalable and live, meaning that they can be connected to streaming data and can absorb heavy traffic flow from users.

By commissioning a custom map or app from Demap, you are employing a highly skilled and well-researched cartographic designer who will ensure your map or app meets the objectives and requirements of your users regardless of the medium (print or digital) or size (wall map or mobile).

Where do you get your data from?

One of our main tasks is to sort through the many sources of information that are available to us. We need to review the variety of formats, scales, projections, co-ordinate systems, attribution, and transformations.

Once we have selected the required data (or assembled it from scratch), we then import this information into a GIS (Geographic Information System). A GIS allows us to manipulate the data a little further: to query, analyse, merge and visualise it. At this point we are often ‘number crunching’ or mining the data as it is sometimes called: we sift through the data, deleting what we don’t need, and organising it better. No data ever meets all the requirements from the start. It has to be ‘massaged’ into shape using the GIS.

Tell me about cartographic design?

We use a variety of design tools from GIS to the Adove Creative Suite. We use which ever application will provide us with as much control over the look and feel of the map. Specific design software like Adobe Creative Suite allows us to ensure the map is compatible with all the leading industry layout programs and printing requirements. For online maps we use a combination of online apps which use CSS as the styling front end.

The software doesn’t do the design for us! But it provides an environment for us to get creative and apply our artistic and technical cartographic skills. This is where the map takes on its form and shape― and the data is turned into a beautiful map based on your requirements.

We ensure your map has visual impact, the content is balanced, the scale is appropriate, the information is up-to-date, and the final output suits your requirements.

Our map making process…

  1. Choose your data based on your requirements.
  2. Crunch the data – compile it, clean it up, generalize it, trim it, re-project it, add additional fields, or values etc.
  3. Choose the right software package that will allow us to get your map as looking as sharp as possible.
  4. Apply our artistic and technical knowledge in cartography to bring your map to life.
  5. Send the map to you for your review. At this point you may request corrections or changes to the map. We will work through these with you.
  6. Once you have approved the map we will supply the map to you in your required format. The map can be supplied as PDF, JPG or Ai files; or we can organize for the map to be printed.

Other FAQ’s

What is the difference between a ‘custom map’ and a ‘stock map’?
A custom map is one designed ‘to your requirements’. The custom map will provide you with the correct map coverage, map size, map content and map design that you need. A stock map is a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. Stock maps often require additional work by yourself or your staff to meet your needs.

How much does a custom map cost?
The cost of the map is based on labour and materials. The three main factors that determine the time involved are the size of the map, how detailed the map is, and how simple or complex the style of the map and the data driving the map. If the map is to be printed, the costs will also take into account the quality and type of paper, the size of the map , and the number of folds in the map (if any). If it is a map app then we will consider hosting, domain registrations and other tech bits we need to launch the map live.

Do you provide a fixed-price quote or an estimate for your services?
In 90 percent of cases we provide a fixed-price quote. For a very complex and large mapping project we may have to provide an estimate of charges which can be reviewed at regular intervals throughout the project.

How do I go about requesting a quote?
Drop us an email and we’ll talk you through your requirements.

How long will it take?
That depends on a number of factors: the size of the map, how detailed the map is, and how simple or complex the style of the map. A simple map might take only one day, while a very complex map might take weeks.

What information do you need from me?
We will need to know a little bit about the publication, it’s size and format, the medium (digital or print), the purpose of the map, the audience and the extent of the map. From there we will recommend the map layers you might want to include, and any other technical or interactive elements that you might want to consider.

I don’t have any data to supply to you. Do you have access to data that we can use?
Yes, we have access to map data from all over the world. Some of it is available for free, some of it we have to pay for. Either way we will select the most suitable and affordable for your project.

Can I provide you with a reference map or data?
Certainly. We encourage our clients to provide us with as much information as possible.

I really only have a vague idea of what I want. Is that a problem?
No, that is not a problem. We deal with clients all the time who are not exactly sure what they are after. We will make sure both parties have a clear picture of your requirements.

Can I modify the map once you have supplied it to me?
Yes in theory, but in practice we don’t recommend it. Most maps we supply have been carefully prepared to meet your requirements using our cartographic skill. We prefer you to send the map back to us so that we make the changes you need (free of charge!).

Who owns the copyright on the map once it is completed?
Once the map is completed Demap will retain copyright ownership over the map and its content unless otherwise agreed with the client.

How many drafts do you supply before the map is final?
Typically we supply between 2 and 3 drafts of each map. These costs are included in our quote. If you require more than 2 or 3 drafts, then the extra charges incurred will be based on the time taken to produce another draft.

Can you print the map for me?
Certainly. We use a number of high quality third party printers on a regular basis. We can arrange to have just one copy of your map printed, or as many as needed.

Can I put my business logo onto the custom map?
Yes. Many of our clients want their business logo or disclaimer added to the map.