I found a very interesting business yesterday, Jeff’s Maps. It seems to be a one person business, run by a guy named Jeff of course, that sells really good maps to a few hotspots in Ontario, including two of the big provincial parks (Algonquin and Killarney).
He designs the maps himself, and adds a bonus information that’s useful to hikers, canoeists and hikers. After I googled a bit, I found that the maps are very popular with this crowd, who rave about the quality.
What I find interesting is how modern his operation seems. The whole world of hiking/canoeing/camping information is generally not very modern. Books about hiking provincial parks, for instance, always sort of seem like they were designed and printed 20 years ago. This is totally fine – there’s no real reason for it not to be like this. Jeff’s Maps, however, does things in a very up to date way, like being very specific about how fast you’ll received printed copies and when your order will ship (there are little images for different regions that tell you this, and I assume update automatically).
What’s the most modern part to me though, is that the main part of the websites (one for each region) is an online map viewer that lets you view the maps for free, and has quite a nice, usable interface. The maps are actually Creative Commons licensed, and you can download them in a number of formats and print them if you like. The actual commercial part of the page is just the sale of traditional printed copies (which are waterproof as well).
Anyway, pretty cool stuff. I’ve yet to check out the paper ones, but going through the map in the web viewer makes it clear it’s very nice. Just thought I’d write it up since it’s an uncommon style of business for something in the hiking/camping sort of space, and it’s pretty neat.