Splashmaps!

About five years ago I architected, and build one component of, an online mapping delivery service for the Ordnance Survey. The users (mostly large landowners) would use a web-based mapping tool to select an area of land, submit this to a data centre for processing whereupon our system would digitally cut up aerial photographs, stitch them together as MrSid rasters and finally burn them to DVDs. Put simply - a process for physical map media from an online tool. Fast forward to the end of 2012 and November's geomob - and David Overton from SplashMaps a Kickstarter-funded project whose ultimate aim is similar in many ways, but also different in many important areas.

SplashMaps takes as it's input vector data from the OpenStreetMap project and produces fantastic waterproof fabric maps designed for outdoor activities such as mountain biking, orienteering and horse riding. They are "real outdoors maps; based on open data, on light, weather friendly fabric." Being much more durable than paper maps you don't have to worry about folding them up or tearing along creases - just stuff it away, or even wear it as a bandana! 

I've used a similar map, though printed on tyvek and for city centre tourism and it's an fantastic idea. Initially the SplashMaps team are seeking investment over at Kickstart atand are working on producing their first run of maps covering two areas - New Forest in the England and Yosemite National Park in the USA with more maps, and custom maps in the pipeline. Find out more and invest in SplashMaps over at Kickstarter.