What’s a map to you?

Sunset Surfer

Some travellers enjoy their experiences so much that they create mementos to remember them fondly when they are back. One of these travellers is Simon Schutz, who is the founder of Awesome Maps. I get to know more about these illustrated maps that remind of decorative wall art.

After a surf trip that took him to Europe he wanted to remember all the places he had surfed. As he puts it.

“We only make maps about topics we’re passionate about so most activity maps are about things we actually also do ourselves. So for surfing, Simon took his car and just went with a few friends and drove around Europe, exploring, surfing and talking to people. The same is true for most other maps as well. However we are not experts at all the sports so whenever we hit a wall we rely on passionate people in the community who help us create the best maps possible.”

He goes on to describe how he wanted to remember all the places he had been surfing in Europe. “After a surf trip through Europe I wanted to pin down all the places I had surfed on a map – and the result was underwhelming.” So the idea of a different kind of world map was born.

“So I had the idea of making a world map that was illustrated. While doing the research for the Surftrip Map, I discovered so many great spots I had never heard of. So I decided to add surf spots to the map – the Surftrip Map was born.”

But it didn’t stop there. He realized that there were other hobbies that could be plotted on a map, such as a Snowtrip Map. So where does this fascination for maps come from? Simon describes the birth of Awesome Maps “We love all our maps but our hearts belong to the activity based maps for surfing, climbing, diving, kitesurfing, etc. These are also the maps that made us successful in the first place and that people can really relate to. But we have also seen a high demand for our more designy maps lately. After all, all maps spark wanderlust.”

“In the digital age, I think maps are becoming more art pieces than navigational instruments. Everyone can look up everything using Google Maps so we think of printed maps as art pieces that inspire you to discover new places. We actually don’t have a ‘typical’ customer- people who buy our maps are very varied demographically. I really think that people who buy our maps are united in their curiosity towards discovery over anything else, which is great!”

To continue, I wonder which map is the most popular one among the customers?

“Hobbies in the world are as diverse as the world itself so there is a plethora of requests. The Dive Map has long been a most requested map, as has been the case with Kite Surfing. This year we are looking closer at the world of hiking, so stay tuned for that one.”

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