More photos from Visit Isle of Wight

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Four miles off the south coast of England sits the Isle of Wight. The Island has a milder sub-climate than other areas of the UK and has been a holiday destination since Victorian times.

The main towns on the Isle of Wight are:

Newport is situated in the centre of the Island and is the county town or capital of the Island.

Ryde is the Island’s largest town with a population of around 30,000. Ryde has the oldest seaside pier in England and miles of sandy beaches.

Cowes is famous for the annual Cowes Week and is an international sailing centre.

East Cowes is best known for Osborne House, once the home of Queen Victoria.

Sandown is a popular seaside resort and is home to the Isle of Wight Zoo and the Dinosaur Isle museum which is built in the shape of a giant pterosaur.

Shanklin, which is now virtually joined to Sandown, attracts tourists with its high summer sunshine levels and sandy beaches. Shanklin Chine is the Island’s oldest attraction.

Ventnor on the south coast of the Island is built on the steep slopes of St Boniface Down.

The Isle of Wight also has it’s own flag which was registered on January 9th 2009.

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And, what’s more, we also have hovercraft!

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Photos below courtesy of Visit Isle of Wight.

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Above: Seagrove Bay in the north east of the Island.  (View more photos on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page)

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Above: Beach huts at Shanklin at night. (View more photos on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page).

Shanklin is situated on Sandown Bay, which stretches from Yaverland in the North to Luccombe in the South.

It was in Shanklin that Charles Darwin wrote his Origin of Species, which was published in 1859.

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Above: The Needles at sunset. (View more photos on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page).

The Needles is a row of three chalk stacks that rise out of the sea to the west of the Isle of Wight. The Needles takes its name from a fourth needle-shaped pillar called Lot’s Wife, which collapsed in a storm in 1764.

NeedlesOnTaylorsHampshire-1759

Above: The needle-shaped pillar (Lot’s Wife) can be clearly seen in this engraving from a map of Hampshire published in 1759.

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Above: Appley Tower, to the east of Ryde. (View more photos on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page).

Appley Tower was built around 1875 as a folly in the grounds of the estate owned by the politician Sir William Hutt. A folly tower is a tower that has been constructed for ornamental rather than practical reasons. Appley Tower is one of the few surviving buildings from the estate and was built just above the beach in the form of a castle tower.

 

Did you know? The Isle of Wight is one of the richest dinosaur localities in Europe, with over 20 species of dinosaur having been recognised, some of which were first identified on the Island. Compton Bay, near Freshwater, features dinosaur footprints which are visible at low tide. (Dinosaurs of the Isle of Wight, Wikipedia)

 

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More photos from Visit Isle of Wight

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The Isle of Wight, home to Queen Victoria, is also famous for boat building, flying boats, the world’s first hovercraft (developed by Sir Christopher Cockerell), and the testing and development of Britain’s space rockets.

Approximately half of the Isle of Wight is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Photos courtesy of Visit Isle of Wight.

Below: Ventnor, on the south coast of the Isle of Wight, photographed at night.  (View on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page)

ventnor

Below: Bembridge Lifeboat Station, Isle of Wight. The first lifeboat service from Bembridge began in 1867. The new lifeboat station, below, was completed 2010 at a cost of £7,650,000. (View on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page)

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View towards Bembridge, the easternmost point of the Isle of Wight. (View on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page)

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Did you know: The 1970 Isle of Wight Festival was by far the largest and most famous (or infamous depending on your viewpoint) of the early music festivals in the UK. The high attendance, many of them without tickets, led the UK Government to pass the ‘Isle of Wight Act’ in 1971 preventing gatherings of more than 5,000 people on the island without a special licence. The attendance at the 1970 Festival held at Afton Farm has been estimated at around 600,000.

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(Image, above, courtesy Wikipedia)

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2015 – a review

…or, what we’ve been doing the past 12 months

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January 2015

On Foot Holidays

We work with many tour operators and tourism companies and the winter months are usually quite a busy time for us, updating maps for inclusion in next summer’s brochures.

These were just two of a number of new maps for On Foot Holidays.

OFH Template RGB OFH Template RGB

February 2015

We are fortunate to have worked with a number of clients over a period of many years. Solent are one of our regular clients.

Solent IW

March 2015

We began working with Assura back in 2013, creating walk maps for display in Doctor’s Surgeries and Health Centres.

A4 Assura template

April 2015

This is the third year we’ve worked with Open Studios, producing maps of towns and villages across the Isle of Wight highlighting the location of artist’s studios etc.

Template Template

May 2015

During May we worked on 50 maps for Tramlink Nottingham. This project consisted of 27 new maps plus revisions to the existing 23 maps which we also produced by PCGraphics.

New Style template 2015 New Style template 2015 New Style template 2015

June 2015

This month brought more work from the publishing company Goldeneye. This time it was amendments to their map of Kent.

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July 2015

Holiday time for our kids, Seamus and Sean

Here they are being hatched from dinosaur eggs (that’s where children come from, right?) at Blackgang Chine, Isle of Wight.

Seamus and Sean

August 2015

Another regular client, Helpful Holidays, asked us to update the maps for their 2016 brochure.

Help Hols 2015 railways pathsHelp Hols 2015 N Cornwall pathsHelp Hols 2015 N Devon paths

September 2015

We first worked for Kirker Holidays about 15 years ago and, like many clients, they decided to use our services once again this year.

Kirker Athens Kirker template

October 2015

Our project for Kirker Holidays stretched into October as well, updating and creating new maps.

Kirker templateCPM2 Region Template.ai

November 2015

November brought another opportunity to work with a client we’d worked with back in January this year, On Foot Holidays.

OFH Template RGB OFH Template RGB

December 2015

New maps for New Experience Holidays, (do you see what we did there?), another existing client, were created in December.

NewExAndorra

New Experience template

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More photos from Visit Isle of Wight

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The Isle of Wight, the largest island in England, what a beautiful place to live.

Photos courtesy of Visit Isle of Wight.

appley

This is Appley Tower, towards the eastern end of the long sandy beach at Ryde on the Isle of Wight.  (View on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page)

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Fisherman’s cottage on the beach at the bottom of Shanklin Chine, Isle of Wight. (View on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page)

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The duver at St Helens, Isle of Wight. A duver is an Isle of Wight dialect term for a large sand dune and there are several duvers around the Island. (View on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page)

 

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From the air…

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Bembridge Harbour, on the Isle of Wight, was previously known as Brading Haven – the harbour inlet stretched inland to where the town of Brading is now situated. After several abortive attempts, Brading Haven was eventually drained and Bembridge Harbour formed by the building of the causeway which can be seen in the foreground of the photo.

The causeway is now a road but was originally built as a rail line linking the towns of St Helens and Bembridge.

brading_haven

Yarmouth, below, on the Isle of Wight, is one of the smallest towns in the UK with a population of around 800. The pier in the foreground is the longest wooden pier open to the public in the UK.

The Wightlink ferry (taking cars and foot passengers between Yarmouth and Lymington) can be seen to the right of the photograph.

yarmouth2

 

Both photos courtesy of Visit Isle of Wight. More superb photos can be found on their Facebook page.

 

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Location Maps – why do we need them?

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We’ve been in business since 1998 and, almost since Day 1, we’ve been producing location maps for businesses on a regular basis. The question though is why do businesses, and people in general, need location maps when it seems like just about everyone has a smart phone with access to Google Maps or similar apps?

Well, there’s obviously a need for them. We don’t produce location maps for fun, we produce them because people approach us and ask us (oh, and pay us to produce the map too, that’s important!).

I suppose a better question might be, why doesn’t Google Maps, or whoever, fulfil this requirement?

Perhaps it’s because it’s seen as a lazy way of interacting with a client who wants to visit your business location, office etc. Here’s our address, now go and look it up for yourself on the internet to find out how to get to us.

Also, if you are trying to contact potential clients through a print medium – a retail store advertising in a newspaper, for instance – you have to use a location map.

So, location maps do work and people need them, which probably explains why we’re still producing these types of maps even though Google has mapped (almost) the whole World.

The next question, having decided that it would be best if potential clients knew where to find your business, is ‘What kind of location map do I want?’

Well, there’s as many different styles of location map as there are businesses. Well, ok, not quite, but you get the general idea. You can have whatever size and style and colours you like. Everything from a map of the whole country showing your multiple locations…

Priory_Hospitals

To a map closely centred on your location, such as this one we produced for the St John’s Ambulance a few years ago…

Basic CMYK

You can also have direction to your offices, which helps if your location is a bit more difficult to find or where there is particular car parking areas to use, or one-way streets etc to navigate. All these can be shown on the map or on a panel next to it.

Shoreham_Port

Or, do you fancy more of a street map, showing the surrounding area, streets etc? This particular sample was for the Wrenwood Hotel in Boscombe, near Bournemouth. Invaluable for guests travelling to the hotel.

Wrenwood_LOCATION

And here’s another example. This one was produced for Audley Travel – one of our tour operator clients, situated at the end of the very picturesque New Mill Lane, just outside Witney in Oxfordshire. Audley use the location maps on their website.

audley_location

Walsh & Co, a firm of solicitors based in Cornwall, asked us to produce this map to highlight their location. Again, it’s also on their website.

Walsh&CoMap

Closer to home – closer to our home, anyway – this black and white location map was created recently for the Trouville Hotel in Sandown, on the Isle of Wight…

Trouville Sandown

And even mapping companies need location maps too. This was ours when we had offices in Old Woking, Surrey…

PCG_WOKING_LOCATION

And, remember, it doesn’t have to be for a business. We get requests for location maps for weddings, village and town hall events, museums and galleries and just about everything else you can think of. If people need to find you, then you probably need a location map.

If you like any of our sample maps here and think you’d like something similar for your own business, then do contact us. We’re more than happy to give you free advice and a quote for your map. All we need to know is a rough idea of what style of map you want, any logos etc to be included and whether you want directions to your location. Oh, and the address would be handy too!

There’s more info about location maps on our website, or drop us an email info@pcgraphics.uk.com

 

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Company Director profile – Sally Cooney

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This is the second in our PCGraphics Company Director profiles. The first, for Paul, can be found here.
 
Here’s what Sally, our Production Director, has to say for herself.
 
I was born and brought up in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. For those in the know, its where the TV show Last of the Summer Wine was filmed in the 70’s 80’ and 90’s – Compo, Clegg, Foggy etc. When I left home at the age of 19 to go to University, I’d make a point of watching Last of the Summer Wine to remind me of home.
 
last_of_the_summer_wine
(Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)
 
I was very studious at school all the way through my GCSE’s and A Levels, a bit of a swot by all accounts. I don’t mind saying that A Levels were quite probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done (including what I studied at University) – I did manage B,B,C in Geography, Social Biology and Maths / Statistics respectively. I also managed to find the time for another GCSE while I was doing my A Levels – GCSE in Russian, but don’t ask me to speak any of it now though!
 
 Those results were enough to get me to a decent red brick university to study Geography – in Southampton. Just about as far away from Holmfirth as you can get, but I didn’t mind that, I wasn’t planning on coming home mid term and the climate is significantly better down south!
 
You can read more about my work choices and how I ended up in cartography by following this link to another of our blog posts.
 
And so to life on the Isle of Wight – what a gem of a place to live! In between drawing maps and bringing up 2 young boys, I spend my time gardening, baking, running and dabbling on the sewing machine which was gifted to me by a kind neighbour. It’s a 1920s Singer crank handle manual sewing machine and its a work of art.
 
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On Saturdays, whenever possible, I like to participate in a Park Run at Newport which is a timed 3 mile route around Seaclose Park, the site of the annual Isle of Wight Music Festival. Occasionally the venue is moved to Appley Park in Ryde which is lovely – what could be better than running alongside the beach? I even manage to do some advertising with my PCG t-shirt on – you’ve got to take these opportunities where you can!park_run(Sally, left, sauntering past some back markers in the Park Run at the Appley Park site near Ryde)Well, that’s enough about me…probably more than enough!If you’ve landed on this page and wish to go to the first page of the blog, click here

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Don’t get me started…

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Some vaguely articulate ramblings, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

 

After the vote

Now that we’ve got the independence of Scotland out of the way we can move on to other matters. How about independence for England? Or, independence for the south east of England? Failing that, may I suggest that the Isle of Wight reforms it’s independence party – I say reformed because there was a movement by the Vectis National Party to change the Island to a Crown Dependency in the 1970s.

An independent Isle of Wight? Is that a daft suggestion? Maybe, maybe not. The Isle of Man is a Crown Dependency and seems to do ok. And the way solar energy farms are springing up across the Island, plus, more recently, the requests for permission to build wind farms off the south coast, it’s not inconceivable that the Isle of Wight will be energy self sufficient in a decade or two. So, maybe independence is not so far fetched after all.

Of course, an independent country will need a leader. We all know that our current political leaders are inept, both locally and in Westminster, so we’d need someone new. Someone untainted by the past fiascos of those in power. Someone intelligent, strong, knowledgable, affable and, most of all, modest.

Now, even though I’m a shy, retiring type of person and not one to push myself forward, I could possibly be persuaded to offer my services as leader of the new Island State. But, and I can almost hear you all saying this already, why stop at simply calling myself ‘Leader’ – why not make me Emperor or King?

King Jack of Wight does has a certain pleasant ring about it, even if I say so myself. I’m also very good at waving and looking haughty, which are, indisputably, requirements for the job of monarch.

And once crowned as King, what would my first decree be? Well, the first one is fairly simple. Reduce the stupidly high ferry fares to and from the Island. Ok, we wouldn’t be reducing them so much that it encourages the riffraff to travel across the Solent – we’re trying to encourage the discerning visitor after all – but just enough so that it doesn’t put off the more desirable elements of society. I mean, we do have some standards. Of course, though, anyone from Basingstoke or Germany would be banned outright, which I’d assume, would be a universally popular decision?

Someplace to live would be next on the list. There’s nothing wrong with where I live at present, but would it really be suitable for a Head of State? Probably not, in my opinion. So, I’d need somewhere more in keeping with my new-found prominent position in society. My tastes are fairly modest as far as this requirement goes, so a small residence such as that once so loved by another monarch, Queen Victoria, would perhaps be suitable.

Osborne_House

(Osborne House, once the summer home of Queen Victoria on the Isle of Wight)

Osborne House fits the bill admirably – not too ostentatious, an extra bedroom or two for guests and room in the grounds for a vegetable patch – and I could possibly be persuaded to relocate there. There is the slight problem that Osborne House is run by English Heritage at present but that can be sorted fairly easily. After all, once we become independent, English Heritage wont be on the Island and the property will be looking for a suitable resident. I am willing to be that tenant – though, obviously, I wouldn’t want to be saddled with the running costs of the monstrosity so that would have to be paid from local taxes. But I’ll leave the subject of taxes to another time. Some people get upset at the thought of paying taxes to keep monarchs, Prime Ministers and even Members of Parliament in the style to which they think they deserve to be kept, so I’ll wait until I’m King and settled in to my new abode before levying the taxes upon my subjects.

Next, there’s an awful lot of elderly folk on the Isle of Wight and that’s all very nice and proper but I do think it would be best for them, and for everyone else, if they were moved  to a remote, unvisited corner of the Island. Or Chale, as it’s known locally. Better for them and better for the visitors who come across. I mean, no-one who goes on holiday wants to have to fight their way through hordes of dribbling grannies to get to the beach or be run over by mobility scooters being driven by demented OAPs. So, better for everyone if they are moved to Chale, out of harm’s way.

And that’s just for starters. I’ll keep all my other plans up my sleeve until after independence and until I’m crowned King of the Island. I think that’s the way it’s done, judging by what I’ve seen elsewhere. It’s never best, apparently, to tell the general public too much or, as in the case of our current politicians, anything truthful at all.

So, you see, what could possibly go wrong with independence? I’m all for it.

 

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics. We would also like to point out that we have no grievances against grannies, OAPs, people from Basingstoke, Germany or even those from Chale.)

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Open Studios 2014

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If you’re interested in art then you will surely be interested in Open Studios 2014. The event, on the Isle of Wight, is held across two weekends in July and it’s a unique opportunity to see the work of over 130 artists and craftspeople as they open the doors of their studios to the public. And, what’s more, it’s all absolutely free.

Work on show includes paintings in oil and watercolour, pottery, jewellery, textiles, sculptures, glasswork plus much, much more.

Open Studios is on between Friday 18 July and Monday 21 July 2014 and again between Friday 25 July and Monday 28 July 2014.

To find out more about Open Studios 2014, follow the link below:

http://www.isleofwightarts.com/openstudios/

For a list of all the participants, along with samples of their work, follow this link:

http://isleofwightarts.com/yearbook.php

PCGraphics (UK) Limited are pleased to have supplied the maps for Open Studios, locating more than 130 artists across the Island.

 

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Isle of Wight Festivals

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There’s loads of festivals across the Island throughout the year. Below are just a few of the one’s on during 2014 – the big ones are obviously the Isle of Wight Music Festival and, later in the year, Bestival. Having said that, the Garlic Festival over the weekend of 16 & 17 August attracts around 20,000 visitors and several thousand scooterists turn up for the International Scooter Rally, also in August.

Isle of Wight Festival
12 – 15 June 2014
Featuring, amongst others
Biffy Clyro; Calvin Harris; Red Hot Chili Peppers; The Specials; Kings of Leon; Suede; Boy George; Inspiral Carpets; Alison Moyet
https://www.isleofwightfestival.com

iw_festival
(Isle of Wight Festival 2013)

Bestival
4 – 7 September 2014
Featuring, amongst others
Outkast; Foals; Chic featuring Nile Rodgers; Beck; Disclosure; Major Lazer; Busta Rhymes; Paloma Faith; Basement Jaxx
http://www.bestival.net

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(Bestival 2013)

The Isle of Wight Walking Festival will take place from 3rd to 18th May 2014

The Old Gaffers Festival at Yarmouth takes place from May 30th -1st June 2014

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(Old Gaffers 2013)

There’s a Festival of Flowers at Barton Manor on Sunday 8th June

The Isle of Wight Festival of the Sea will take place over five days between Monday 16th and Monday 23rd June

The Garlic Festival is on from 16/08/2014 – 17/08/2014

The International Scooter Rally comes each year to Isle of Wight. This year from 23/08/2014 – 26/08/2014

V-Dub Island is on from 14/08/2014 – 18/08/2014

Isle of Wight Cycling Festival is between 13/09/2014 – 28/09/2014

Literary Festival, across the Island from 16/10/2014 – 19/10/2014

The Isle of Wight Autumn Walking Festival 24/10/2014 – 27/10/2014

Plus, many of the towns and villages have their own festivals and carnivals, including illuminated and children’s carnivals.

You can find out more about what’s on across the Isle of Wight on the Visit Isle of Wight website.

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(Left – the beach near Bembridge; Centre – view towards Culver Down; Right – Culver in the foreground with Bembridge in the middle distance).

Images courtesy of the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page.

 

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Transport Maps

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Buses, trams, trains – most of us use these at one time or another and many of us need maps to help us navigate the various transport systems, especially when the town or city is unfamiliar to us. Transport maps were therefore an important and high profile addition to the range of maps we could offer our clients.

We began producing maps for transport companies back in 2004 when we created our first maps for the Nottingham Tram Consortium. The initial project consisted of a system overview map plus detailed maps of each tram stop with each map showing the surrounding streets etc.

Nottingham_Trams_System   nottingham_system_extract

(Left, the system overview map and right, an enlarged extract showing the level of detail on the map)

In total there were 23 tram maps and these all followed a similar style to the Old Market Square map shown below, and all incorporating local information including pubs, museums, Council Offices, libraries, tourist information centres etc.

Old_Market_Square

tram_photo

(Above, trams at the Old Market Square on the Nottingham Tram network – photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Next we moved on to buses and in 2006 we began work on a large project for Yellow Buses in Bournemouth where we mapped every bus route across the conurbation of Bournemouth, Boscombe, Poole and parts of Christchurch. The network map, below, covers the complete area and shows not only the bus routes but most of the main roads across the whole of the area.

Bournemouth_Network

In addition to this, we also created what were termed Spider Maps, along with schematic maps and route maps for each individual bus route on the system.

The schematic map was a stylised map of all the bus routes – similar in design to the iconic London Underground maps, and a simple way to find your way around Bournemouth by bus, but not, of course, geographically accurate.

Bournemouth_Schematic

(Above, Yellow Buses schematic map)

The Spider Maps took the schematic map and highlighted each of the major bus intersections in a separate map with detail on where to board each individual bus. The map below shows the Boscombe Spider Map.

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(Boscombe Spider Map)

We also created route maps for Yellow Buses where every bus stop on the bus route was shown. The route map below is a good example and is for the number 5 route from Bournemouth Town Centre to Kinson.

route_map

All of the maps above were based on Ordnance Survey material, rather than royalty free, as this was the quickest and easiest method for producing them.

A few years after the Yellow Bus maps we produced a map of the Isle of Wight showing all the Southern Vectis bus routes around the Island. Our client for this project was Island Holiday Media (now trading as Solent) whom we still work with today. This was just one of many maps of the Island which we worked on before moving over here in 2010.

southern_vectis

We’re hoping to be producing more transport maps in the not too distant future, possibly airline route maps – something which we haven’t covered as yet.

(Copyright notice – Some of the maps above contain Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database rights 2014)

 

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Starting a Business

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Many of us dream of working for ourselves, being our own boss and making all the decisions instead of working for someone else. But how many people actually do it? This is our story of how we got started, the pitfalls, the traumas (and there were a few along the way), the things we’d never, ever do again and the satisfaction when things went right.

Our story actually started a short while before we formed the company in 1998. All three of the Directors who started the company had worked for other cartographic companies in the past, and we’d all also worked together at one time or another.

Our reasons for wanting to start the company were probably all different – whether it was dissatisfaction at where one of us was working, someone needing a new challenge or just the thought that we really couldn’t do any worse than some of the previous bosses we’d had and would hopefully actually be a bit better.

Anyway, the suggestion was made that we should go our own way and the three of us took the idea and ran with it. I’m not quite sure we knew where we were running to, but it felt good.

Then came the reality of company formation, accountants, Articles of Memorandum, business bank accounts, commercial Estate Agents, leases and solicitors. And, on top of that, work was coming in and maps had to be produced.

We struck lucky on the bank account, opening an account with the NatWest purely on the basis that one of us had a personal account with them. We were allocated a Business Advisor by the name of Brendan Minihane and he helped us enormously through those first months, and even for years afterwards. I know it’s not fashionable to praise banks these days, but some of his advice was invaluable and set us off in the right direction. Yes, he did try to sell us various add-ons, insurance and the like but I think he quickly got used to the answer ‘No, thanks’. Can’t blame the man for trying though.

The next big hurdle was office space. None of us had any experience of renting office space so we were flying by the seats of our pants. Fortunately, we fell on our feet with decent, modern offices in a converted church hall in Guildford and a flexible lease. It was at this time that we won our first big contract, with Thomson Directories. We had many other clients as well but it was the sheer bulk of work for Thomson’s that enabled us to quickly expand.

the_hall

(The Hall, Woking Road, Guildford – our first offices)

In fact, we expanded so quickly that within a short period of time we were employing fourteen full time staff and a number of freelancers too. Which was a problem in itself.

The problem wasn’t so much in actually employing people (we’d have input from solicitors and Human Resources experts to help with the legal side of things) and had many applications for employment. No, the real problem was finding the right people. We quickly learnt that a  University Degree was no guarantee of a person’s competence or even their ability to work in an office environment. Added to that, we were also looking for an ability to draw maps. We found some very good staff, but we found an awful lot of very poor ones too.

With the number of staff rising we made the decision to move to larger offices, this time to Old Woking, Surrey. We also took on two new salesmen and looked at finding new markets for our maps. Some time before this one of the Directors dropped out and we were down to the two Directors we have today, Sally and Paul Cooney.

westminster_court

(1 Westminster Court, Old Woking – our offices up until 2008)

With hindsight, moving offices was probably a mistake. But our biggest mistake was taking on a 10 year lease on the new offices. No-one can foresee the future and 10 years is an awful long time in business. It’s not that we weren’t doing ok, we were, but we kept thinking of the higher costs (higher rent, higher business rates, service charges etc) for the larger offices than we had previously and how much better off we’d have been.

Eventually we took the plunge and bought ourselves out of the remainder of the lease and changed the set up of the business, moving to using more freelance cartographers rather than permanent staff.

This had an immediate positive effect on the Company and we had some of our best years ever. It also coincided with the massive downturn in the UK economy (we’re talking 2008 here) but now, with our overheads substantially reduced, we were fairly immune to the forthcoming recession. Fortunately, we also had some major contracts during this period and the Company remained buoyant.

Switching away from permanent staff and working with freelancers also gave us the opportunity to move away from where we had been based in Surrey to the much more relaxed location of the Isle of Wight, which is where we are now.

Which brings us just about up to date.

We’ve learnt a lot over the last 16 years since starting the business. We’ve had a lot of highs and a few lows along the way. We’ve enjoyed drawing maps for a lot of household name companies (British Airways, Virgin, IKEA, Automobile Association, Thomson Directories and Thomas Cook to name but a few) plus thousands of much smaller businesses. Would we do it all over again? Almost certainly, but wouldn’t it be great to do it with the benefit of hindsight too!

 

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Yarmouth, Isle of Wight

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Great view of Yarmouth from the air (courtesy of Visit Isle of Wight), with the ferry leaving for Lymington at the top of the photo – click on the photo to enlarge it.

Yarmouth is situated in the west of the Island, see the map below, and is one of the smallest towns in the United Kingdom. According to the UK Census in 2001 it had a population of 791.

yarmouth

yarmouth_map

 

Courtesy of Visit Isle of Wight

Visit their Facebook page

 

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Walk the Wight

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Walk the Wight – Sunday 11 May 2014

Each year around 12,000 people gather on the Isle of Wight to Walk the Wight, helping to raise funds for the Earl Mountbatten Hospice on the Isle of Wight.

The Earl Mountbatten Hospice provides end-of-life healthcare for the Isle of Wight community and is the only hospice on the Island. The hospice receives a grant towards the costs of providing this care but needs to raise over £2m a year to provide all of these services. Sponsored events such as Walk the Wight help towards raising these funds.

Tennyson_Down

Walk the Wight, Tennyson Down (Courtesy of WikiMedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tennyson_Down_during_Isle_of_Wight_Walking_Festival.jpg)

The main route for the walk is from Bembridge in the east, via Carisbrooke to The Needles in the west of the Island and is approximately 26.5 miles. Walk the Wight has been running for 19 years and is now the biggest sponsored walk in the South of England.

This main walk is also broken down into two stages.  There is a 12.5 mile stretch between the start at Bembridge to the checkpoint at Carisbrooke, and a 14 mile walk from Carisbrooke to the finish at The Needles and walkers can complete either of these two shorter walks or the full 26.5 mile route.

There are many other walks apart from the main route across the Island. There is even a Schools Walk the Wight, where Island school children walk the equivalent of the 26.5 miles but in shorter sections over several weeks.

This year’s walk is on Sunday 11 May 2014.

Walk_the_Wight

More information on Walk the Wight:

http://www.iwhospice.org/walk-the-wight.aspx

Registration:

http://iwhospice.org/register-now-for-wtw.aspx

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Fascinating (Isle of Wight) Facts

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Some fascinating facts about the Isle of Wight that you probably didn’t realise that you wanted to know…..

  • The island has more overseas visitors per year than it does residents – 2,467,909 visitors in 2010/11 with a population of only about 138,400.
  • The Island has more sunshine hours than any other UK resort with on average 1800–2100 hours of sunshine per year, which is more than some areas of northern Spain.
  • The Isle of Wight is said by some to be the most haunted Island in the world.
  • The trains on the Ryde to Shanklin line are ex London Underground tube trains and were built around 1938 – making them older than some of the heritage steam engines on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.
  • The Isle of Wight was called Vectis by the Romans who settled there.

Brading_Roman_Villa
Brading Roman Villa mosaic (Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brading_Roman_Villa_15.jpg) 

  • The Isle of Wight is England’s smallest county when the tide is high – Rutland being the smallest when the tide is out on the Island.
  • The world’s first radio station was set up by Marconi, at the Needles, on the western tip of the island in 1897.

Needles_Old_Battery

The Needles Battery (Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Needles,_Needles_Old_Battery_-_geograph.org.uk_-_644576.jpg)

  • The Needles battery was also used as a site for the testing and development of Britain’s space rockets.
  • Blackgang Chine, in the south of the Island, was establishment in 1843, making it the oldest amusement park in the UK and, some say, the World.

Blackgang_Chine
(Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blackgang_Chine_main_entrance.JPG)

  • According to audits, the local newspaper, the County Press, is read by approximately 90% of the Island’s adult population.
  • The tallest structure on Isle of Wight is Chillerton Down transmitting station, whose mast is 228.9-metre (751 ft) high.
  • The Isle of Wight is home to the Isle of Wight music Festival. It attracted an audience of 700,000 in 1970 with Jimi Hendrix headlining at the site at East Afton Farm.
  • The world’s biggest gathering of vintage and modern scooters, The Isle of Wight International Scooter Rally, is held on the Island in August each year with between 4,000 and 7,000 participants.
  • Adgestone Vineyard is one of the oldest vineyards in Britain.
  • The hovercraft was invented and developed on the Isle of Wight by Sir Christopher Cockerell, who lived and worked in East Cowes.

hovercraft
(Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Portobello_Solent_Express1_2007-07-28.jpg)

  • Formed in 1967, and active in the early 1970s, The Vectis National Party was a political party which sought independent status for the Isle of Wight, on a similar basis to other islands such as the Isle of Man.
  • The well known model village at Godshill incorporates a model village of itself. It is so detailed that within that second model there is a third, even smaller, model of the village.
  • Flying Boats were developed and built by Saunders-Roe Limited at their Columbine Works, East Cowes.

flying_boat
(Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Saro_Princess_G-ALUN_Farnborough_1953.jpg)

  • The Isle of Wight is one of the richest dinosaur localities in Europe, with over 20 species of dinosaur having been found on the Island. Dinosaur footprints are visible at Compton Bay, near Freshwater, at low tide.
  • When the dinosaur fossils were laid down, between 125 and 110 million years ago, the island was at a latitude similar to that of North Africa today.
  • Osborne House was built between 1845 and 1851 for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a summer home and rural retreat and the Island became a major holiday resort for fashionable Victorians. Queen Victoria died at Osborne House in January 1901.

Osborne_House

Osborne House (Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Osborne_House_02.jpg)

  • PCGraphics have worked on 94 projects requiring customised maps of the Isle of Wight for various clients since we started back in 1998. That’s roughly one every two months or so.

 

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Island Life

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It was back in June 2010 that we moved to the Isle of Wight. Sally and I had been considering a move for some time before that – the nice little canal-side cottage where we were living in Ash Vale, Surrey was becoming too small for a growing family.

ash_vale

Businesswise, we were free to move anywhere. A few years previously we’d changed from directly employing staff to using a team of skilled freelancer cartographers which meant that we weren’t tied to a particular area or having the problem of relocating staff.

So we came up with a shortlist of possible places to live. And, because of the way we work, we felt we weren’t necessarily restricted to living in the UK. Actually, it started off as a pretty long list – we took a list of English speaking countries off Wikipedia and began crossing off places we thought unsuitable.

Australia sounded good but a bit of a long trip to see family and friends at weekends. The same for Canada and the USA. So we looked closer to home.

We had a brief discussion about Gibraltar before moving on to the Channel Islands – until we looked into the problems of buying a house over there and the prices asked for very modest properties.

But, the idea of living on an island had formed in our minds.

One of our other criteria was to move south if possible. Warmer summers and milder winters were a definite attraction, so all of the more northerly islands surrounding the UK were ruled out. Eventually, one of us (and I’m not saying who) suggested the Isle of Wight.

We went through the usual thoughts of ‘Isn’t the Isle of Wight only for grannies and retired people?’ and ‘Aren’t they about 50 years behind the times over there?’ before remembering the great beaches, the scenery, the slower way of life (we’d had holidays on the Island previously) and the slightly warmer weather.

And there was the added bonus that house prices were considerably cheaper on the Island too.

So, we moved.

We’d only been on the Island a short while before ‘island mentality’ set in. I doubt if this is in any way unique to the Isle of Wight, but living on an island does make you think in a slightly different way. Islanders, we quickly noticed, tend to stick together. Everything is very island-centered. There may be around 110,000 people on the Island but you feel you know everyone and people tend to be much friendlier than a lot of places we’ve lived on the mainland.

While everyone else, it seems, is going global, living on an island makes you think very local. From local food and drink to employment for local people.

And then there’s the quirky things. Like the fact that the trains on the Island are ex London Underground trains of around 1938 vintage. They can’t run any other trains because the bridges on the Island were built too low. And they run well too – we actually have the most punctual train service in the UK, notwithstanding the fact that there is only about 8.5 miles of railway line! There are no motorways and only one stretch of dual carriageway about half a mile long. But, apart from during the times of the music festivals, there’s rarely a queue of traffic anywhere.

underground
Island Line train (formerly a London Underground train) at St Johns Rd Station, Ryde

dinosaur_train
An Island Line train in dinosaur livery

No self respecting Island would be complete without its fair share of eccentrics. The clear leader in this field on the Isle of Wight is David Icke. A former professional footballer and sports presenter on the BBC, it all went a bit pear shaped for David around 1990 when the spirit world began, allegedly, to pass messages to him. He followed this up in March 1991 with a press conference where he announced that he was a “Son of the Godhead”. Several books followed, with one making the claim that a secret group of reptilian humanoids called the Babylonian Brotherhood controls humanity, and that many prominent figures are reptilian. The Queen and Tony Blair are, apparently, reptiles. We have our doubts about one of those but are willing to believe it about the other.

David has his own youtube channel where you can view his videos and he does sell-out tours  – he is doing an all day presentation at Wembley Arena in October 2014. Tickets are available online.

Local newspapers are always interesting to read and the County Press is no exception. We’re always amazed at the somewhat trivial stories which manage to make the ‘news’ pages. Take these three for instance:

http://www.iwcp.co.uk/news/news/man-stuck-in-window-37209.aspx

http://www.iwcp.co.uk/news/news/man-freed-after-trapping-arm-43083.aspx

http://www.iwcp.co.uk/news/news/man-freed-from-window-46511.aspx

Perhaps there’s something about folk from the Island and windows, but a worryingly high number seem to have problems with them. Or, maybe, they just have problems with doors and use the windows instead? Who knows? We’ll report back in a few years time when we’ll probably be using the window to get in and out of our house. And calling out the fire brigade when we get stuck.

Along with the lack of motorways, there’s also a complete lack of shopping centres on the Island. What we have are High Streets. Remember them? Their demise everywhere else in the UK has been well documented but here, on the Isle of Wight, every town has its High Street and all have more than their fair share of small, independent shops.

Yes, there’s a very large Tesco where, over time, you’ll bump into just about everyone you know on the Island but there’s also a huge number of small, local food stores and delicatessens, coffee shops, restaurants, greengrocers and fish mongers.

Hey, you know what? It does sound like England from 50 years ago!  And, you know what else? It’s actually none the worse for being like that.

 

Credits:
Island Line photos: Wikimedia Commons 
David Icke: Wikipedia

 

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More stunning photos from the Visit Isle of Wight website

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A few more photos published recently on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page and website.


castlehaven
 Castlehaven, near Niton

newtown_creek Newtown Creek

freshwater_bay_2
Freshwater Bay just after the recent storms

yaverlandYaverland Beach, near Sandown

 

Photos courtesy of  Visit Isle of Wight.  More photos on their Facebook page.

 

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A retrospective view of 2013

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Here’s a quick look back at some of the highlights of what we did in 2013. In Facebook terms you might call this the PCGraphics Timeline for 2013.

 

January 2013

WALES

Maps of Torquay, Brixham and Paignton in Devon, UK, produced for a marketing company. Created from scratch and based on Ordnance Survey data.

London

Wasted our time producing this A4 map of London for another marketing company (serving the luxury hotel industry) who requested this map then changed their minds after we’d produced it. Which is why we now nearly always ask for money upfront with new clients – saves dealing with time wasters.

February

henley

A simple but nice little map of Henley on Thames produced for a publisher of historical books – one of many maps we’ve produced over the years for this client. Again, based on Ordnance Survey material.

March

Template

In March we produced a series of 7 maps showing the location of artistic venues for Isle of Wight Arts.

April

Print

A map of Cowes and East Cowes created for the ferry company Red Funnel and displayed at the ferry terminal.

May

POW

Perhaps not the most visually exciting map that we’ve produced but then, considering the subject, maybe it’s right not to be. This map plots the route taken by 1500 Prisoners of War in 1945 from Poland to Berlin, with approximately half the journey made on foot. The book is called The Long Road, by Oliver Clutton-Brock.

June

ATG 09 design template

One of probably hundreds of maps produced over the years for one of our most valued clients for use in their travel brochures and website. This particular example being an overview map of China.

July

seamus

Seamus takes a leap into the pool during a well earned holiday in the sun in Menorca.

August

helpful

We update around 17 maps for Helpful Holidays on an annual basis around August time.

September

Basic CMYK

In September we started a series of walk maps which are produced at A1 size, encapsulated in clear acrylic sheets and wall mounted at Health Centres around the UK. We have been busy creating these from September through till December.

October

CPM2 Template landscape.ai

Map of Rhodes produced for another long term client. We’re fortunate to have worked with a number of clients over a long period of time. We still have clients today who we first worked with soon after we started PCGraphics back in 1998.

November

A4 Assura Template

Still working on the series of walk maps for UK Heath Centres.

December

montage

Work starts on a new title for Ocean Explorer Maps – another valued client we’ve worked with for many years. Work in progress at the moment, more details to come soon.

And that, folks, was 2013. Let’s all hope that 2014 is equally as good.

 

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Why we moved to the Isle of Wight

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Six more views of the Isle of Wight. Can you see why we decided to move here?

culver
(The cliffs at Culver with the Yarborough Monument visible on top)

bembridge_harbour
(Bembridge Harbour at dawn)

brading_marsh
(View over Brading Marsh)

st_catherines
(St Catherine’s Oratory. Known as the Pepperpot, it was built in 1328 as a lighthouse)

sandown
(Looking across Sandown Bay)

freshwater_bay
(
Sunset at Freshwater Bay)

 

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Photos courtesy of  Visit Isle of Wight.  More photos on their Facebook page.

 

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Events on the Isle of Wight – October 2013

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There’s always plenty to do and see on the Isle of Wight. We’ve compiled a short list below to give a flavour of what’s on during October. All the links are to the Visit Isle of Wight website.

 

stars Stargazing weekend at Island Planetarium

steam Autumn Steam Gala – IW Steam Railway

food Natural Wight Wild Food Walk – St Helens

books Isle of Wight Literary Festival

woods Electric Woods “Lost Before Time”

fright The Curse of Captain Black – ghost walk

walking Isle of Wight Autumn Walking Festival

hops Hops Festival at Ventnor Botanic Garden

fossil walk  Autumn fossil and geological landscape walks

cowes food Cowes Food Show

steam Wizard Week at IW Steam Railway

park of the dead Park of the Dead

 

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