For us, every journey starts and ends with a map. We pull out a map to plan our trip, and at journey's end, we use maps to record our adventures...
For us, every journey starts and ends with a map. We pull out a map to plan our trip, and at journey's end, we use maps to record our adventures and everything we've seen. At its heart, cartography is a complex mixture of the opposing impulses to categorize—to measure and quantify—and to imagine where we might go and what might be out there.
As avid travelers and surfing fanatics, we returned from a surf trip through Europe in 2009 to find something disappointing: we wanted to plot our trip on a map, but no map lived up to the awesomeness of our experiences. So, we decided to make one ourselves. We've always been fascinated with cartography, and we started Awesome Maps because we wanted to revive the art of mapmaking to capture the imagination and the desire to explore the lives and worlds of others.
When we finished the first map—an illustration of the surfing world—we realized that people were discovering places for surfing they would have never thought of, like Yemen, Namibia, or Iceland. We were able to give these places faces through illustrations, not just abstract characteristics, bringing people closer to the countries' beauty and sparking the imagination.
The real magic of our maps was that they could inspire others to explore the world, ultimately connecting people to each other and to far off places. We love printed maps in a digital age, but there's still something irreplaceable in the haptics of a printed artifact, which creates a constant physical reminder of the world beyond your walls.
Realizing this, the next world map was pretty much laid out for us. A bucketlistmap for everyone.
Our current project maps all the great places on Planet Earth, with the must sees and dos before you kick the bucket. But we didn't want a map of just our bucket list. We wanted it to be everyone's bucket list.
Current status of the bucketlistmap that we have already finished for Africa
That's why we went to Kickstarter, to fund the first print of the map and to also involve others in the crowd-creation of the map. We've invited everyone to add ideas to the bucketlistmap, and have already received more than 300 suggestions for places we, and others, may never have discovered otherwise—like seeing a mud volcano in Colombia, the Temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the more than 3000 miles of Patagonian Highway or the “Door to Hell” in the Karakum Desert, and an ever-expanding list on our comments page.
First idea from one our backers we made a reality: diving at the USS Oriskany
We've been ecstatic to see the enthusiasm for this map from all corners of the globe. Our backers have even requested future special interest maps—a hiking map, a diving map, a mythical map and more. The beauty of maps is that each map presents a unique perspective of the places it maps, and has the potential to reveal unexpected connections.
If you have an experience that you dream of doing one day or one that you already have done and think should be included, we'd love to welcome you to come aboard on our quest.
This project is part of our Saturday series, Push for Good —our guide to crowdfunding creative progress.
Join us in exploring and protecting the GOOD Outdoors. To participate in our exploration challenge, simply click here to say you'll Do It and we will keep you updated by email on the actions we can all take to to preserve and protect places that mean so much to us.