Monthly Archives: October 2010

Promotion Announcements

We are pleased to announce the promotion of Paul Chapman to the position of Vice President of Sales and Tina Sicre Miller to the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

Paul Chapman, Director of Sales for’s Custom Mapping Division, will become  Vice President of Sales for the group’s five divisions. Paul will continue to spearhead Custom Mapping sales efforts on a daily basis.
Paul joined our team in the year 2000 with a background in sales, marketing and project management. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of California Santa Barbara.

“Paul lends an analytical eye as well practical experience, having ‘pounded the pavement’ and listened to our customers first-hand. He combines practical knowledge with an eye for opportunities to excel in the future,” reveals President and CEO Sarah Sinclair.

Tina Sicre Miller will add Chief Operating Officer to her existing title. Sicre Miller leads our Classified Concepts division but will see her role expand in decision-making at the executive level, for all operational, financial and administrative affairs.

Prior to joining the Classified Concepts team, Tina oversaw the sales and marketing efforts for’s lucrative Mapping Services and Education (Maps101) Divisions. She balances a passion for music and writing with her burgeoning career and family life in Santa Barbara.

“Tina’s historical knowledge of all aspects of is a valuable asset to this company. She has helped create and develop many of the ideas that have become pillars of our business” reveals Sinclair.

It’s a map, World Map

At long last, geographers, cartographers, travelers and businesses can finally explore the world as it was meant to be – using ‘Map World’, the Chinese government‘s answer to Google Maps.

Map World from the People's Republic of China

Map World

The State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping unveiled the program which will give internet users a unique insight into global geography in and around Beijing and more that 200 other Chinese cities. Users can zoom in to street view on the capital in all of its glory, however views of the rest of the world are more limited to the extent that once zooming is attempted above 500m the screen turns white.

Controversially, the program includes the province of southern Tibet within China’s borders. This is the area also known as Arunachal Pradesh, one of two territories in dispute with India. The other is Aksai Chin, a region of Kashmir, which Map World incorporates into the Xinjiang province. The bureau has chosen to protect sensitive areas such as military bases which can be clearly seen on the Google version – a sensitive issue after revelations such as one in 2008 that a newly constructed Chinese Navy ballistic missile submarine could be seen in commercially available satellite photographs.

Map World does allow access to detailed maps of Chinese provinces including road and rail maps, with pushpin and distance features similar to Google (in so far as I can read the e-book instruction manualsimplified Han according to my browser). There are also links to a number of other publications by the Bureau including a special atlas – “to reflect China’s reform and opening up 30 years of glorious history and brilliant achievements” published in conjunction with hundreds of government agencies, and following some of the worst flooding China has seen in decades, a disaster map (crashed at time of writing) featuring detailed statistics and information on regional disasters.

Map World - Regional View

Map World - Regional View

The launch follows a move in May by the Chinese government to require all online mapping providers to obtain a license. In order to obtain such a license they are required to maintain servers in mainland China. Google has not yet applied for such a license – its most local servers are in Hong Kong – and the maps could share the fate of its other blocked services such as Youtube and Picasa. China’s number 1 video site is the locally hosted Youku (special treat in that link), which has benefited significantly from government regulation.

China has taken significant steps to make a product available to its people that will rival currently available offerings and almost inevitably replace them. Whether that is replacement by force or by choice remains to be seen.

Give Map World a try here (after brushing up on your Chinese)

Fall is here!

It’s official the Autumn Season is here! It’s time to kick on those heaters, dust off your rain Fall is Here!boots, and watch all the colors change. At we are fully dressed in the fall spirit, with falling leaves and spiders spinning webs all over our site.

With the Autumn Season among us, this means spending more days working on things you can do inside when it’s cold and rainy out. Here are some free activities that the whole family can do together to help pass the time and keep you occupied all season long.

This fall season check out our free stuff section, packed with tons of great resources from map games, to iPhone applications, to reference atlases. Here is a brief overview of the free stuff that we offer for those cold and rainy days.

Map Games
Play the GeoQuiz Gameshow. Discover your untapped geographic knowledge with the latest fun, map-based interactive learning game. Geo George, your game show host, will ask questions that you answer by clicking on the map.

Play the Alienz! game. This is a game of world exploration. An easy and fun, animated geography quiz game great for younger geographers.

Test your greography skills with our Geography Crossword Puzzles. A great game that makes learning fun and easy, for the whole family! This effective geography learning tool tests your knowledge and gets your mind thinking.

iPhone and iPad Applications
Check out our World Atlas, for the iPad. This App is a collection of clear and attractive historical maps. The World History Atlas is a useful reference for any learner of world history. Each map has been designed to be colorful, easy-to-read, and informative, without sacrificing detail or accuracy. These carefully selected maps provide comprehensive global coverage for the major historical periods. Browse the atlas using the iPad’s touch screen with virtual page turning, or jump to any section using the instant on-screen index. This is the most convenient World History Atlas yet.

Atlases Collection
Choose from a variety of Continent, Country & Region, World and US Atlas collection. This section is filled with facts, figures, flags and maps delivered in a simple format. Learn about the world’s people, economies, governments and geography in a click. This is a great reference section for interesting facts and statistics about our world.

How to Create a Travel Brochure

Making a travel brochure takes times, effort and creativity.  Whether you are creating a travel brochure for a school project or for a business, the main purpose of a travel brochure to introduce tourists to a place and provide itinerary ideas. Here are some tips on how to get you started to create your own travel brochure.

Choosing your content:

San Francisco Travel Guide

San Francisco Travel Guide

The first step in creating a travel brochure is deciding on what content you are going to include. You can focus on a brief history of the place, trivia, travel guides, shows and activities, and a map of the place. Here is where your research begins, use resources such as the internet, local periodicals and magazines to gather information you need to create your travel brochure.

Choosing a design and layout:

In order to make the travel brochure interesting you need to consider the photos and graphics that you are going to put in your brochure. It is best not crowd the travel brochure with tons of pictures but to include enough to make the brochure interesting. It is important to pick a specific design for your brochure, do you want a business look? A casual look? A trendy look? The best choice really depends who your target audience is and the message your want to convey. There are a lot of travel brochures to compete with, so you might want to consider choosing a design that stands out and makes your travel brochure unique from others.

Choosing paper quality and size:

The quality of a travel brochure is important.  Decide if you want the brochure to be printed on hard cardstock paper so that it can stand on its own or if you want a thin flexible brochure that can be folded up. What size do you want your travel brochure to be? Do you want a bi-fold? tri-fold? Horizontal? Vertical?

The front cover should have pictures of the place. The inside pages should include important information such as the itinerary, places, shops, restaurants, travel guide etc. The last page you can put a map and tourism hotline number or visitors bureau information.

How to Read Topographic Maps

Most of us are used to reading road or street maps to get where we want to go.

Topo Map of Mount Whitney

Topo Map of Mount Whitney

As a result topographic maps are a bit unfamiliar. Even though we may be uncomfortable with them, topographic maps have many uses; hiking, navigating, even pilots use them for flying. Once you understand the symbols and what they mean, you’ll see that topographic maps are not as challenging as they appear.

The standard size of a topographic map is a 7.5-minute map; meaning 7.5 minutes latitude and 7.5 minutes longitude. The contour interval for this size map is 40 vertical feet.

The first step in learning how to read a topographic map is understanding what the different colors mean; Red indicates major roads, black is trails or smaller roads, blue is water (lakes, rivers, streams, etc.), green indicates vegetation, white and brown indicate dry areas, and white and blue indicate snowy or icy areas. It is important to remember what each of these colors means so that you will be prepared prior to arrival.

The next step to understanding topographic maps is reading contour lines, which show the change in elevation in relation to see level. Greater contour intervals, widely spaced lines, indicate a gradually increasing slope while smaller contour intervals, closely spaced lines, indicate a steeper slope. This can help you determine the size of a hill or mountain. These lines also represent cliffs, slopes, valleys, and ravines, mesas, summits, ridges, and passages.longitude

It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the symbols on your map before you leave. Some of them are self-explanatory, like a river, but other symbols, like those for buildings and other similar structures, are a little harder to distinguish.

In the age of GPS and navigation devices it is easy to view such maps as obsolete; however, electronics fail and it’s always a good idea to have quality topographic maps on hand and know how to read them.

What is a Relief Map?

Have you ever wondered what Mt. Everest looks like compared to Kilimanjaro? Or the depth of Death Valley compared to the height of the Sierra Nevada’s? Each of these great landmarks reflects the amazing diversity of our planet; from great mountains spanning hundreds of miles both high and wide to valleys below the sea. Even if you are world traveler and have seen the magnificence of these places in person it can be hard to imagine how they would compare if they were placed next to each other. To get a real comparison you need a relief map.

A relief map is a 2 or 3 dimensional map that shows varying elevations. On 2 dimensional versions shading is done using different colors are used to show varying degrees of elevation for things like mountain ranges. The 3 dimensional maps are the most impressive. Combined with the color a variety of different materials –plastic,

Yellowstone National Park with Relief Digital Map

Yellowstone National Park with Relief Digital Map

rubber etc. –are used to display different features like valleys, mountains, rivers. The result is a map on which you can actually see and touch the top of Everest and the floor of Death Valley.

You can acquire relief maps of the world, individual countries, states, and even other planets like Mars.

With a relief map you can discover things about your own town that you never knew before. They are a great way to learn more about the terrain of a given area. Teachers like to use them in schools to help make the world come alive to their students.

Relief maps are a great way of looking at the world in a new way. It is not just a flat round ball in primary colors. Relief maps allow you to see things as they really are from the mountain highs to the valley lows, the forests green and deserts brown.

What Do Historical Maps Show?

History is one of the most important subjects. It is through history

Where Did Columbus Discover America? Map 1986

that we learn valuable lessons about where we came from, how our society has evolved, and mistakes that have been made.

A lot of history is told through textbooks, which play an important part in learning about history, but it is not the only way. Historical maps are a great visual way to learn about history.

Historical maps are available on a variety of subjects. There are maps detailing Columbus’ four voyages, maps of wars and battles like the Civil War and WWII, as well as maps that show how territories and borders have changed.

The symbols and details on the map will vary depending on the purpose of the map. A map of Columbus’ voyages will show the regions from which he departed and arrived. The main feature, however, will be the ocean and the routes that he traveled, usually indicated by a solid or dashed line with each voyage represented in a different color.

Growth of the United States to 1853 Wall Map

Some of the most interesting historical maps are those depicting battles or wars. A historical battle map will show the area that battle occurred as well as the area each force occupied and their movements. Larger maps of wars, such as the World Wars, will usually show each side in a different color; for example the countries on the Allied side would be blue and the countries of the Axis side would be red. In addition, they often show the movements of each side and the locations of important battles.

Territory maps show the borders of states and countries have changed over the years. A good example is the United States. Over the last 200 years open land has become territories, territories have become states, and the boundaries have shifted. Some maps have different pages that you can layer and really see how things have changed.

There is so much that we can learn about our country and world through historical maps. They help to visualize important moments in history that you can’t quite see through a textbook alone.