….. or, the day we bought a map off ebay
First, let’s clear up one thing. At PCGraphics we draw maps, hundreds of them, but what we don’t do is print or publish our own maps. We’re a service company to publishers, tour operators, Local Authorities and anyone else who wants a map drawn. But we don’t print maps.
So, when we wanted a World wall map we, like most other people, went online to buy one. Fairly easy, there’s plenty of suppliers out there.
But then you start looking at the cost. A World wall map can be anything from £12 up to £25 or more. Surely they must all be the same? Why do some cost twice as much as others do?
Anyway, being cost conscious, we opted for one off ebay for £12. Plus postage, of course.
The map arrived on time, nicely rolled up in a tube. No complaints there. We didn’t actually open up the tube and look at the map until several days later. And then the fun began.
Ok, I’ll admit it, being cartographers we’re a bit fussy about maps. But I don’t think you’d have to be all that fussy to be astounded by the map we received.
We’ve scanned and uploaded here just one small corner of the map (it’s a big map, about A1 size and we could only fit the corner in the scanner!) but we could equally have chosen any part of the map as an example.
At first glance you look at it and think, ok, yes, it’s a World map, that’s what we ordered. Then you look closer.
Now, most of us know where the Vatican City is, don’t we, even if we’re not Catholics? Even if we don’t know it’s exact location, I think pretty much all of us would know that the Vatican City is not in Corsica (France). Yet there it is, proudly sitting on the west coast of Corsica. Or according to the map we bought anyway.
There’s probably a Gaelic spelling of every town and city name in Eire, but we’re fairly sure that ‘Limerickv’ isn’t one of them. Maybe it was just a typo error which slipped through the net? But then……
This is certainly an unusual spelling of Bordeaux. Perhaps because it’s pronounced ‘o’ at the end of Bordeaux someone stuck an ‘o’ there as well, just to make sure!
Quite what’s happened to the name Gavle in Sweden is beyond us. How do you get the final ‘e’ to drop down like that? And, did no-one notice?
Geography, and capital cities in particular, aren’t everyone’s strongest subject but, if you’re producing a map, one of the fundamentals is to get the capital cities correct. Most of us know the city of Pamplona, famous of course for the bulls running through the streets, and I think most of us would know that Pamplona is not the capital of Andorra.
Not much wrong with the UK part of the map. You’d hope not anyway as the map was produced in the UK (by a company in Sheffield) and it should be fairly easy to get all the UK names right. And, yes, they probably are but………just looking at it makes me feel dizzy and a bit queasy. How many different angles can you spot that the names have been placed at? Just look at Penzance and Plymouth. And then Newcastle and Manchester. And the end of ‘United Kingdom’ seems to have gone awry too. And Dublin and Birmingham. Need I go on? I can’t really as it’s making me feel slightly nauseous looking at it (a bit like sea sickness).
And this was all from just the small corner of the map that we scanned.
So, what’s the moral of this story? Would it be that you get what you pay for with maps, the same as with most things?
Possibly. Except that we sent the map back (we’re £6 something out of pocket now because of the postage but we really didn’t want to keep the map, it was embarrassing, and people might have though we’d produced it) and went down the High Street and bought a new World map from WH Smiths. The new map, published by Ordnance Survey, cost us £9.99 (other publisher’s maps were available at the same price) whereas we’d paid £12 plus postage to a company on ebay for the poor excuse of a map.
So, our moral is, not everything is cheaper on the internet. Lesson learnt. Until next time we find a ‘bargain’ anyway.
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