Ocean Explorer Maps – 14 years of maps
We get on extremely well with all of our clients – we enjoy creating their maps for them and hopefully that comes across in what we produce – but just occasionally a client comes along who we like to think of as a friend.
When Nigel Sitwell approached us back in 2000 with the idea of a map of Antarctica aimed primarily at cruise ship passengers, we were pleased to take on the job. It seemed like a nice job to work on, combining maps with informative text and interesting photos. Little did we realise how that one project would evolve into a whole series of maps spanning nearly 14 years.
We also knew nothing at the time of the background of Nigel. It’s only over those 14 years that we came to realise that he had been the editor of Wildlife magazine (which became BBC Wildlife) for many years and that he was an Expedition Leader on Antarctic cruises for 14 seasons. Or that he had been awarded the Order of the Golden Ark by HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands for services to conservation. Or that he was Chairman of the Galapagos Conservation Trust from 1997 – 2006. Or that he was the author and editor of many books specialising in natural history. But, best of all, that he’d flown a military plane between the Needles at the western tip of the Isle of Wight!
So, Antarctic Explorer went into work and had it’s first printing in 2000 and a reprint followed shortly afterwards in 2001. This popular map is still in print today, along with a German version in 2001 and a Japanese version in 2002 which was our first venture into working with the Japanese language.
Antarctica set the style for all the other Explorer maps to follow. One side has an overview of the whole of the continent surrounded by short biographies of important figures (explorers etc). Side two shows an enlargement of the Antarctic Peninsula along with photos of the wildlife, information on Treaties etc.
Spitsbergen was the second in the Explorer series and went into work in 2001. It was reprinted again in 2010. In the latter part of 2001 we created a popular German version of the map which has had two subsequent reprints.
Producing Spitsbergen Explorer brought back memories for our Production Director Sally, who, in 1994 had spent four weeks on this Arctic island on a glacial research expedition. Read the blog entry here.
After the success of Antarctica and Spitsbergen, Nigel commissioned us to produce Alaska Explorer in 2002. Again aimed primarily at cruise ship passengers, Alaska followed a similar format to Antarctica with an overview map on one side and an enlargement on the reverse with more photos and information.
Also in that year we started work on a new title in the series, South American Explorer. This focused mainly on southern Chile and, in particular, the fjords which are very popular with cruise ships.
2002 was another busy year as we also created Falkland Islands Explorer and South Georgia Explorer. These were slightly smaller format maps than Antarctic and Alaska (750 x 460cm as opposed to the larger format 1000 x 690cm) but still contain a wealth of information and colour photographs.
Caribbean Explorer was next on the list, going into production in 2003. This gives an overview of the Caribbean Islands along with a timeline of historic events, information on wildlife etc and is ideal for the many cruise ship passengers in this area to plot their trips.
Galapagos Islands Explorer followed in 2006 and such is the popularity of the map of this unique group of islands that it has been reprinted twice, in 2009 and 2012.
2006 also saw us producing Mediterranean Explorer – another large format map at 1000 x 690cm, covering the whole of the Mediterranean area, north Africa and parts of the Middle east.
In 2007 we moved back to the Arctic with the commencement of Greenland Explorer, with a further reprint in 2012.
Over the years many different versions of Explorer Maps have been produced for various travel companies, including Swan Hellenic, Gap, Quark Expeditions, Peregrine and Adventure Fleet, with their own branding on the maps.
Right at this moment we have a new title in production, which will have to remain under wraps until it is published, hopefully later this year.
These publications have been a delight to work on as they incorporate not only detailed maps of interesting places but also photographs, text and diagrams and bring all these elements together into an attractive design.
If you’re visiting any of these areas, and not just on a cruise ship, it’s certainly worth checking out these publications before you go. They’re also ideal for armchair explorers, which, I guess, is the majority of us!
A few quotes from customer’s who bought Ocean explorer Maps online
“Excellent map of islands for visitor plus info on people, fauna and flora, geology and history. Local guide said it was the best map he had seen and wished he could buy it in the islands so I gave him my first copy when there last month and bought this 2nd copy for myself on return.”
“loads of interesting facts about this amazing little island”
“as someone who works in the Falklands, this is the map that I always rely on”
“this map is the most detailed of this area I have seen”
“Having checked all available maps of area, this was clearest and best presented”
“First class product”
You can buy Ocean Explorer Maps online at these and other stores
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