Projecting Our Dreams

If there were ever an apt analogy for the human habit of perceiving the world as we wish rather than as it is, it can be found in the mystery of cartographic map projections.

Things are not as they seem. The Earth, its neighboring planets, and our sun are careening through space at thousands of miles per hour in a spiraling race towards the end of time.

Back here on solid ground, we see that which immediately surrounds us and we leave the rest to mysterious scientists, presumably buried under a mountain somewhere analyzing satellite imagery and generating the maps we trust. Continue reading

Last Minute Delivery Saves the Day

A day barely goes by when we don’t receive a request for a custom map mural. It’s a great way for a business to make a bold statement in their board room or reception area. Companies will often request that we include their logo and perhaps all their satellite branches, franchises, development projects, mining operations, etc. We can even put a big red dot right on the family home.

We print the large murals in separate panels that are then bundled up and shipped off. To do that, we lay the map out in a computer program and slice up the image in the most efficient way to print on our machines with the least amount of waste.

Above is the print layout of a custom map mural we made for a company in Bellevue, Washington. They provide internet, cloud, and communication services. The map was for their lunch room and needed to be finished in time for an important guest.

This is a story about making a mistake and then making it right.
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Why Cars Crash Into Us

Our office and warehouse are located on a hill in a mixed residential-commercial part of town in between Seattle’s International and Central Districts. It’s not a steep hill. The traffic is not particularly busy and the street itself is wide and accommodates one lane each for cars and bikes in either direction with parked cars along both sides.


Then and now. During and after the regrade of Jackson Street, Seattle.

But, there’s something wrong. We must admit that it’s a mystery that we’ve just learned to expect and accept without explanation. Cars keep crashing into our building. Continue reading

Panorama Maps of the 19th Century

Some of our favorite maps are Bird’s-Eye-View Panoramas, popularized in the mid-1800s and early 1900s. These views are a hybrid of cartography and art. The artists captured the character of neighborhoods using original maps, blueprints, and plans in conjunction with skillful sketching of a city’s features and buildings.

lithography-press-1855-rhoeco-sm

The lithography process that was used to reproduce these views was relatively new, having only been introduced in the early 1800s. The idea of printing on paper from an image placed on stone was quickly embraced. Rapid advances with steam-powered mechanics made the process ever more efficient and economical. The early lithography equipment and supplies were produced in Europe, with American printers importing the presses and supplies from Germany, England, and France. Only three American patents related to lithography were issued prior to 1860. As the process became more mechanized, American printers began demanding more of the powerful new presses. The R. Hoe & Co. of New York began to manufacture steam-powered presses as early as 1870 in New York. Further advances rapidly followed, such as the use of zinc plates that were easier to use than stone, and the development of photographic processes. The Centennial Exposition of 1876 exhibited the earliest examples of prints made using the photozincographic process at the Photographic Hall in Philadelphia. Continue reading

The Mapmaker’s Dilemma

Maps are historical novels. They embody the discoveries of countless generations of seafarers. They are the children of the great explorers. The mapmaker is powerless alone. He is completely dependent on others to bring him the means to practice his art: an original view; the most current calculation; the newest idea; or the latest scientific breakthrough. The more stories collected, the more accurate and detailed the picture that emerges. Each new piece of information added to the whole reveals an ever-changing, ever-evolving, living history of Man’s journey on planet Earth.

There’s a wonderful book called A Mapmaker’s Dream: The Meditations of Fra Mauro, Cartographer to the Court of Venice: A Novel” about a cloistered monk at the dawn of the Renaissance who meets with visitors from around the world returning from extraordinary journeys and adventures in an attempt to glean the latest tidbit to add to his maps. Venice was a great world power at that time and considered by its cosmopolitan residents to be the center of the world. Its rulers controlled commerce and trade throughout the Mediterranean and beyond with vast fleets of merchant ships and war ships.

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A gift to the Festival in Vancouver B.C.

The Vancouver International Children’s Festival called. They were looking for a map and found us online. All you really need to do to find us is type “map murals” or “classroom maps” in a search window and we’ll pop up. Usually on top.

It took a long time to get our websites humming so that people could find us easily. The process is a called “search engine optimization” or “SEO” and consists of using words and terminology on your website and in your product descriptions that correspond to the words and terminology that people might type into search engines like google when looking for something. The trick is to match the words.

Vancouver, British Columbia has a beautiful waterfront park where they hold many events and concerts throughout the year. One of everyone’s favorites is The Children’s Festival that started as a theater festival and can trace its roots back to a UN conference on housing and the environment called Habitat the city hosted in 1976. It has evolved into a much larger event since then, weaving inter-disciplinary arts, interactive arts, and performance art together for young people and their families from around the world. This year will be its 40th anniversary celebration.

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Customers and the Crazy Things They Say

When the phone rings, we answer. We say something like: “1-World, how may I help you?” But sometimes the things people say back can be pretty confusing.

It’s actually hard to do customer service over the phone. It’s not the same as having a customer in your store where you can quickly get a feel for what they’re looking for by showing them things and gauging their needs by their reactions. Usually, the customer who calls is looking at one of our websites, and our first task is to find the item they’re looking at so that we’re both looking at the same thing. Sometimes, that’s easier said than done.

The fact is that people call us from any number of strange places. Like the beauty parlor. Probably not the most opportune time to make a large purchase, but why not? A very happy lady who knew exactly what she wanted called the other day while she was having her hair shampooed. All the other ladies in the place jumped right in. They were helping her measure, giving advice about which item to get, making sure she asked all the right questions, all while doing her hair and laughing and carrying on. She ended up choosing a historical bird’s-eye-view map of the California town where she lived. (see here)

That call went really well, but here’s a sample of some of the more confusing calls we’ve received:

“1-World, how may I help you?”
“There are no mountains in the ocean!” Customer had ordered a topographical map by mistake.
“1-World, how may I help you?”
“The Globe.” Customer was convinced that we had called him and didn’t want to talk.
“1-World, how may I help you?”
“I need a map of the GTA.” I’m sorry, where? “The Greater Toronto Area.” Oh.
“1-World, how may I help you?”
“I’m trying to find my lost friend I spent time with in Micronesia.” We can’t really help with that.
“1-World, how may I help you?”
“I’m looking for the devil on my chair.” Ahhh…
“1-World, how may I help you?”
“I’d like to sign up for the lunch series.” I don’t… we sell maps and globes…

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The Playground Stencil Project

We’re always looking for ways to give back to our community. A large part of our business is supplying schools around the country with globes and maps of all kinds and sizes so it’s a natural fit for us to want to help children.

In a previous post, we wrote about an organization we’ve partnered with to help find schools and children in need in the Seattle area. It’s called Communities In Schools. We usually donate maps and globes but we thought we might reach out to them again this month with a new idea.

We carry a lot of products. We have map murals, map rugs, spring roller maps, desk maps, relief maps, foreign language maps, floor maps, digital maps, and one of the largest selections of globes in the world. And we have one product that is unlike all the others. The Map Stencils.

The stencils are outlines of the World and U.S. maps. By placing the outlines on a playground or any surface, a group of students and teachers can lay out the boundaries and paint the countries in different colors. It’s a great hands-on project for young people to do and a fun way for them to learn about the world as they use the playground.

Communities In Schools helped us find a wonderful elementary school near our office. It’s called the Van Asselt Elementary School and has a great new Principal, Monique Manuel. They have graciously accepted our gift and we’re looking forward to some warmer weather to get outside and help make the world a better place, one map at a time.

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CoCA and the World Map Competition

We love maps and we love art. So we decided to combine the two and launch a World Map Design Competition together with the Center on Contemporary Art in Seattle (CoCA). The challenge: re-imagine the map of the world.

We spoke with Joseph Roberts, board member and exhibit curator at CoCA, to get his thoughts on the challenge and the project.

1-World:
Joseph, thank you for stopping by. How did you originally get involved with 1-World Globes & Maps and what are you hoping to accomplish with a partnership like this?

Joseph Roberts:
The “Re-envision The Map of The World” project is the brainchild of John DeGiacomo, 1-World’s Marketing Coordinator. Because of my deep involvement with CoCA, John reached out to me to discuss whether it might make sense for CoCA to collaborate on this project. I was immediately convinced. I’m fascinated to see how different artists will respond to the same words. What is a “map”? What is the “world”? What is a “map of the world”? What does it mean to re-envision that?

CoCA is a catalyst and forum for the advancement, development, and understanding of contemporary art. I’m always looking for projects that advance that mission. So, if a project promises to introduce CoCA’s work and that of its artists to new audiences, I’m interested. What do we hope to accomplish? Synergy.

1-World:
Has there been much interest in the competition? I saw that you put out a call for artists. Can you tell us anything about people’s reactions to the project? Continue reading

3 things to know about Peel & Stick Murals

They’re really, really, really easy to put up.

We want everyone to have maps in their homes. But before you take the traditional route with the shoe box in the closet full of folded maps, allow us to recommend something a bit more glamorous and fully-guaranteed to start up an interesting conversation every time. A map mural.

But hold on. Do you do home repairs, carpentry, sheet rock, or plaster work? No? How about wall paper installs? Not that either? Then we don’t blame you for feeling more than a bit apprehensive about buying one of our giant murals and tackling it yourself. We were convinced that we couldn’t do it. Until we did.

First, let’s get the technical details out of the way. What are map murals?

We are printers. We print paper maps that can be laminated, mounted on spring rollers, framed, or prepared for mural installations. We have five printers that are each the size of a couch. They use pigment inks which are designed specifically for fade-resistance and long life.

We can print on special papers that are more like woven fabric than traditional paper. This kind of paper has a backing that easily peels off, revealing a tacky adhesive that does not stick permanently and allows the map to be re-positioned many times without leaving any marks, folds, or tearing.

Once you find an empty, non-textured wall that you think would be a great place for a map mural, choosing the right map from our online collection and taking some measurements is all you need to do. We’ll take your measurements and divide the map into panels that we print separately. We then package them up and ship them off to you with simple directions. A level, a pencil, and a little time is all you need.

And take it from us. You can do it.

Here is a video we made recently to show you how.

And a link to our mural page on our website.

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