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The Power Of The Story

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#1 iamlost


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Posted 03 March 2012 - 02:09 PM

Sometimes dreams not only come true but become profitable.

A labor of love finally validated by Bob Welch, RegisterGuard, 28-February-2012.

In 2010 when David Imus’ new map of the United States won cartography’s equivalent of the Academy Award for Best Picture, here’s what it did for his fame and fortune:

Absolutely nothing.


He worked on the map virtually every day for two years. Seventy hours a week, 6,000-plus hours, while going $117,000 in debt.


At 7:38 a.m. on Jan. 2, about the time Duck fans were waking to Rose Bowl Day, an article on Imus by Slate’s Seth Stevenson was posted on slate.com.

“Can one paper wall map really outshine all others — so definitively that it becomes award worthy?” Stevenson asked. “I’m here to tell you it can. This is a masterful map. And the secret is in its careful attention to design.”


Stevenson decried that, despite its wonder, the map was destined for obscurity, what with chain stores bent on carrying only major brands, speciality map shops dying and people agog over maps on computers and iPhones. And that, he wrote, was a shame.


he learned that his imusgeographics.com site had been visited so feverishly it had crashed; he’d missed 141,000 hits, he later learned.

Never mind. Before the crash, he’d already made more money selling maps on this single day than he had in the entire 29 years he’d been in the business.

The site was restored. By week’s end, after he’d cobbled together friends to handle calls, e-mails and purchases, 8,000 maps had sold, ranging in price from $12.95 (folded) to $39.95 (laminated).

National Public Radio discovered him. By last week, more than 11,000 maps had sold; gross sales had reached almost $500,000.

Read the article - the story is more like a Hollywood script than the real life that it is.

And for those interested the Slate story by Seth Stevenson that made all the difference: The Greatest Paper Map of the United States You’ll Ever See Made by one guy in Oregon.

...earlier this year, the 38th annual Best of Show award went to a map created by Imus Geographics—which is basically one dude named David Imus working in a farmhouse outside Eugene, Ore.

At first glance, Imus’ “The Essential Geography of the United States of America” may look like any other U.S. wall map. It’s about 4 feet by 3 feet. It uses a standard, two-dimensional conic projection. It has place names. Political boundaries. Lakes, rivers, highways.


What separates a great map from a terrible one is choosing which data to use and how best to present it.

How will you signify elevation and forestation? How will you imply the hierarchy of city sizes? How big must a town (or an airport, or a body of water) be to warrant inclusion? And how will you convey all of this with a visual scheme that’s clean and attractive?


This object—painstakingly sculpted by a lone, impractical fellow—is a triumph of indie over corporate. Of analog over digital. Of quirk and caprice over templates and algorithms. It is delightful to look at. Edifying to study. And it may be the last important paper map ever to depict our country.

Surely that’s worth some space on the wall of your den?

There are lessons to be learned from this story, are you paying attention?




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Posted 03 March 2012 - 04:10 PM

That is an amazing story. The price is a steal.

I wonder why the Cartography and Geographic Information Society was ineffective at promoting the map? Then a Slate author makes things explode.

Edited by EGOL, 03 March 2012 - 04:18 PM.

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