Oct 8 12

Create your own Personalised World Map

by MattThomason

Gifts are a staple part of every culture and are an symbol of affection from bearer to receiver. However, it is important to remember that a gift is not just that in itself. It is a demonstration of how well you know someone and understand their personality.

Unlike generic gifts, personalised gifts can last a lifetime and will always hold a special place in someone’s memory. For example, gift cards will get used, coffee mugs can break and tastes will change, where as a personalised world map could occupy wall space for years to come.

Personalised gifts can be given at any special occasion and, contrary to popular belief, they don’t have to be exceedingly expensive. Theclichéphrase “it’s the thought that counts” is what makes the difference when it comes to personalised gifts.

Did you know? Maps International has a range of personalised world maps, personalised postcode maps and much more to excite and impress the people closest to you.

Personalised World Map

Here’s an example of aPersonalised World Map. You can customise the colour of the border as well as the title and sub title. The Personalised World Map would make a perfect birthday gift!

Personalised World Map

Personalised Postcode Map

Here’s an example of aPersonalised Postcode Map. These provide a detailed map of any area in the UK followed by a title and sub title of your choice. The Personalised Postcode Map makes perfect walldécorfor the home!

Personalised Postcode Map

Personalised Postcode Map for Couples

Here’s an example of a Personalised Postcode Map for Couples. Choose two different locations and merge them together followed by a title and subtitle. These areas could be childhood homes, where you first met or favourite destinations.

Personalised Postcode Map for Couples

You can find many more personalised world maps over at Maps International UK or Maps International USA.

Oct 12 12

Old Maps - A Brief History of Cartography

by MattThomason

Old Maps have been part of human history for thousands of years, and are said to date back as early as 16,500 B.C. However, The oldest known maps are preserved on Babylonian clay tablets from about 2300 B.C.

It was not until the early 16th century that the first world maps began to appear, Gerardus Mercator from Belgium was the leading cartographer of the mid-16th century. He developed a mapping projection based on mathematics, which was much more accurate than any other up until that date. He published a map of the world in 1569 based on this projection.

Mercator World Map

Mercator World Map 1569 - Source: wikipedia.org

In light of this, many other map projections were soon developed and in 1570 the first modern atlas was published by Antwerp cartographer Abraham Ortelius.

Ortelius World Map

Ortelius Old World Map 1570 - Source: wikipedia.org

The Nova Orbis Tabula In Lucem Edita is a similar but more ornate version of the Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Tabula. The latter was published in 1630 and was the first dated map to be published in an atlas.

Nova Orbis Tablula in Lucem Edita

Nova Orbis Tabula in Lucem Edita 1689 Old Map - Source: mapsinternational.co.uk

In 1740, German map publisher Matthias Seutter used the Vertical Perspective projection which placed the map observer at a 12,750km distance. This type of projection is the same as is used today for Google Earth.

In the United States in the 17th and 18th centuries, explorers mapped trails and army engineers surveyed government lands. The old map pictured below was released in 1858, after the US had been thoroughly explored and mapped.

The World on Mecrators Projection

The World on Mecrators Projection 1858 Old Map - Source: mapsinternational.co.uk

Many more accurate projections were developed over the course of the 19th and 20th century. Digital mapping in the late 20th century made old maps like these somewhat obsolete, but they still provide an intriguing insight into the evolution of cartography and can make a timeless addition to the home.

Nov 13 12

Google on Mars

by MattThomason

Many of us will already be aware that we can explore space using the wonders of Google Earth. The ability to roam Mars on Google Earth was something that was introduced in 2009, but images were only available in low resolution.

Now, thanks to Context Camera (CTX) on Nasa’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter we are able to see the red planet in much more detail.

Updated: Updated: The grey patches in this view of Mars from Google show images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's Context Camera which have been freshly loaded into the freely downloadable application

In addition to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter there are four other active probes on or in orbit around Mars. This includes two orbiters and two rovers. This includes 2001 Mars Odyssey, Mars Express, Opportunity rover, and Curiosity rover.

The Curiosity rover is one of the more advanced probes and has already transmitted some intriguing information back to NASA. Curiosity was set down in the Gale Crater, which Google Earth users can zoom into for a 3D view.

curiosity-rover

Up until recently the mission controllers overseeing NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover mission had been working in shifts aligned with Martian time for the first 90 Mars days, or Sols, of the mission.

The start of the Sol is always changing relative to Earth time which meant the team’s start time for daily planning had to be moved a few hours later each week.

To view these fantastic images download Google Earth

Click on this icon in Google Earth to view Mars >>>saturn

Nov 20 12

Mapping The Movies

by MattThomason

There is always significant debate when it comes to the best movies of all time. Ratings can be deceptive, critics can be challenged and hype can play a significant part in shaping a social, collective reaction.

Watching a movie can be a rollercoaster ride of emotions, both good and bad and like riding a rollercoaster, the best ones are always the ones we remember for years to come. Many people will label and cast assertions about specific genres.

Many men for example, will judge a romantic film as being a ‘chick flick’ which men may only watch when with a female companion. Similarly, many women will judge an action film as being nothing but ‘explosions’ and ‘fast cars’, things which naturally appeal more to men.

So what happens when genres collide? You get the likes of Avatar producing a cocktail of action and romance, admidst a war torn climate with highlighted themes of greed and corrpution. You get the brilliantly acted Forrest Gump which mixes heartfelt drama with comedic elements, creating an unlikely blend of humour and sadness.

A lot of the best movies do not tie themselves to one genre and allow themselves to reach a larger amount of viewers by incorporating influences from different genres. Obviously, if a movie was to take extracts from every genre then it’s likely that it wouldn’t be very successful, however, in moderation a mix of genres can go a long way in creating a cinematic masterpiece.

Vodkaster.com has attempted to create a visual representation of this phenonemon in the form of a subway map. The concept behind this is that each genre is represented by a subway line, while each movie is represented by a station. The points at which these lines meet is where the film has adopted a position between two genres.

Do you agree that these movies are the best of all time? Do you feel that more of these movies have a cross section of genres? Tell us in the comments.

Nov 28 12

Christmas Gifts Discount - 15% OFF!

by MattThomason

The Christmas season is just around the corner. Up until now, the thought of Christmas may have seemed like a far off event but now we are seeing it in magazines, shopping malls, restaurants and in almost every ambient environment.

It won’t be long before Bill Nighy is gracing our screens in ‘Love Actually’ with his rendition of “Christmas (love) is all around me”. With the Christmas Season comes the prospect of buying Christmas gifts for friends and family and, as is often the case, the difficulty in knowing what to buy.

We’re here to help. We’ve got -15% off everything in our online map shop up until 4th December. That’s right, everything. Here’s a few ideas of Christmas gifts to start you off:

Huge World Map

Our HUGE politcal world map is even bigger than resident map maker Kev and is one of our best sellers (the map, not Kev). This map will make a brilliant Christmas gift for the budding travel enthusiast or Geography obsessive and it’s now just £32.60.

Glow In The Dark Map

Our Glow-In-The-Dark World Map is the perfect Christmas Gift for the kids’ bedroom and will help them learn valuable geography skills. This map is now just £32.60.

Nova Orbis Tablula in Lucem Edita

The Nova Orbis In Lucem Edita is a perfect Christmas gift for the historians amongst us. Its fascinating ornate detail will give a real ‘blast’ from the past! Buy this in our medium size for only £24.65.

Christmas Gifts Discount
Dec 3 12

Life Expectancy World Map

by MattThomason

This colour coded life expectancy world map shows the incredible difference in life expectancy across the globe. It shows that the more economically developed countries such as the UK, Japan and Canada have a higher life expectancy than lower economically developed countries like Angola and Zambia.

Countries like Italy and Sweden have life expectancies of 80+ where as places like Chad and Afghanistan have life expectancies of lower than 50.

The country with the highest life expectancy is the city state of Monaco. It has the Worlds highest number of Billionaires & Millionaires per capita and the Worlds lowest poverty rate, as well as exceptional standards of state funded healthcare.

Of the top 5 countries with the highest life expectancies the only large country is Japan, with the rest being city states like San Marino and Singapore.

On the other end of the spectrum, Chad is one of the poorest countries in the World. 80% of the population of the country are living below the poverty line and as of 2004, it was estimated there were 3 physicians, 15 nurses and 2 midwives per 100,000 people.

Click the image below for a larger view.

life-expectancy-map

Jan 9 13

150 years of The London Underground

by MattThomason

The London Underground is internationally renowned for being the third largest (in terms of route miles) subway system in the world. Today marks 150 years since the first London Underground journey took place between Paddington and Farringdon on the Metropolitan line in 1863.

One of the Tube’s most notable features is the design of it’s network map. It is characterised by a non-geographical layout and the use of colour coding for lines. The map is now considered a design classic; virtually every major urban rail system in the world now has a similar map and many bus companies have also adopted the concept.

Tube map

There are many cultural references to the map, including parodies of it using different station-name. Here are a few of our favourites to celebrate 150 years of the London Underground.

Simple, but effective.

londonist1

Football Fans

Football London Underground

Local Life Expectancy

life-expectancy

Jan 16 13

Mapping dialect and it’s influences

by MattThomason

The origins of language in humans has been a topic of scholary discussion throughout the ages. It has been documented in the Christian bible in the book of Genesis as a ‘confusion of tongues’ and has been deemed by some scholars as unsuitable for serious discussion due to a lack of empirical evidence.

In 1866, the Linguistic Society of Paris went so far as to ban debates on the subject. However, today, there are still many questions left unanswered and a growing number of professionals have attempted to address this mystery with new methods.

French Artist Gustave Doré's interpretation of the confusion of tonguesFrench Artist Gustave Doré’s interpretation of the confusion of tongues

Further questions remain around dialect or accent. Received Pronunciation is considered the standard English accent in England although it is clear that around England and indeed Great Britain the accent can vary vastly. People from the West Country may have trouble understanding someone with a Geordie accent. Similarly, someone with a Cockney accent may have problems understanding someone with a Glaswegian accent. Dialect is usually interpreted geographically and split into certain regions.

Every dialectal feature has its own boundary line, called an isogloss and these features can be attributed to the division of certain dialects and associated with names of geographic regions, for example, Bristolian or Brummie accents.

Dialect also has some relation to a person’s social background. In many localities, dialectal differences are connected with social classes, educational levels, or both.

dialectsDialects from across Great Britain

It’s possible that we may see the diminishing of dialect in the modern era. The ability to communicate with people from around the world with ease may cause isogloss boundaries to blur and accents to become more similar.

On the other hand, it could be argued that despite the ease of communication individuals are no longer communicating vocally. In the 21st century people communicate more via email or by short message services (SMS) as oppossed to actually speaking to one another.

Do you think there is a future for dialect?

Feb 8 13

Top 20 Horse Meat Producers in the World: Map

by Ronnie Hazley

World Map of Horse Meat Producers

World Map of Horse Meat Producers

“Frozen-food company Findus is the latest culprit in a number of cases surrounding the use of horse meat in foods labelled as beef. A series of tests on Findus beef lasagne products found between 60 and 100 percent horse meat. Within the last month millions of burgers have been taken off shop shelves amidst findings of horse DNA. We thought it would be interesting to illustrate the top 20 countries in the world that produce horse meat. You can see from our World Map of Horse Meat Producers that China are by far the biggest producers of horse meat.

Horse meat is widely enjoyed around across much of Europe, South America and East Asia and is a healthier alternative to eating beef due to its lower fat content. So, why does Britain host a social stigma against the consumption of horse meat? It can be traced back to centuries when horses were seen as companions and used as cavalry in times of war. Similarly, today horses are considered as pets in a similar category to that of cats and dogs.

As aforementioned, in many countries consuming horse meat is considered socially acceptable. To further highlight this, we have used data from the Food and Agriculture Organisation tomake a map of all the countries worldwide that produce horse meat.”

Feb 28 13

Map of the World’s Credit Ratings

by MattThomason

We’ve created a Map of the World’s Credit Ratings based on Moody’s Corporation Ratings Data. On 22/02/13 the UK lost it’s AAA credit rating for the first time since 1978. This came as a result of a series of blows to the UK economy and speculation that UK economic growth will remain sluggish over the next few years.

The UK saw it’s rating drop to Aa1, which means it will take a long time for the government to reduce its budget deficit - the amount it has to borrow every year because it is spending more than it receives from tax revenue.

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However, Moody’s stated that the UK’s creditworthiness was still “extremely high”. In particular, the UK has a good history of debt control and still has a highly competitive economy. Our Map of the World’s credit ratings provides a visual representation of each country’s credit rating based on Moody’s ratings data.

Map of the World's Credit Ratings

If you’re not sure of some of the country names then use the interactive map of the world’s credit ratings below. Click on a country to find out it’s name.

Mar 19 13

Nuclear Weapon States Map

by MattThomason

The 1930’s was a period of immense change. The great depression caused markets to crash and resulted in economic downfall, whilst Adolf Hitler seized the opportunity to rise to power. Many major conflicts occurred across the world including the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Chaco War and the earth changing World War II. The decade also saw a host of technological advances including television, radio and nuclear fission.

During World War II, it was assumed that Nazi Germany was trying to produce nuclear weapons. To counter this The United States, Canada and The United Kingdom gathered their best scientists to produce such weapons before the Germans. Their efforts were successful and in August 1945 two nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan which ended the war in the Pacific.

Since then, the USA produced the first Hydrogen bomb in 1952 and Russia countered this by building one of their own. Over time, both the USA and Russia continually built nuclear weapons based on the threat each country posed upon one another. By 1986 it was estimated that throughout the world there were 40,000 nuclear warheads. These weapons had the capability of destroying the world many times over.

Today, there are eight states that have successfully detonated nuclear weapons. Five of these are considered ‘nuclear weapon states’ under the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. This international treaty was devised to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, whilst promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Despite this, recent events have seen North Korea testing nuclear weapons and even threatening to launch nuclear strikes on the U.S. North Korea have broken many UN sanctions and are also known to have exported nuclear weapons to countries with a history of corruption, which might harbour terrorist cells.

Nuclear Weapon States

We’ve created a map to illustrate where these nuclear weapon states are. The map is featured below, is colour coded and fully interactive. Clicking on a shaded country will display its nuclear weapon states status. To find out more nuclear weapon states click here.

Apr 24 13

Map Gifts For Father’s Day

by MattThomason

Dad’s can be difficult to buy gifts for. As a broad rule, men are generally harder to buy gifts for than women. It’s often best to play it safe and buy your Dad something that will allow him to reassert his masculinity. Something like a Bosch Power Drill or a screwdriver with interchangeable heads. Chances are, though, he will already have all the things that he really wants. However, there might be some things he doesn’t even know he wants yet!

Maps can provide the perfect solution when searching for a gift this Father’s Day. Whether it’s an Executive World Map for the office, or a Personalised Postcode Map for the living room. Whatever your needs may be, Maps International can help you find the perfect map gift for your Dad. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Premium Executive World Wall Map

Our premium executive world wall map is perfect for the office and available mounted on a walnut style frame. Complete with political detail (countries shaded in different tones), country boundaries and cities shown, this really is the most stylish and practical map available.

Framed Historic British Empire World Wall Map

Our Framed Historic British Empire World Wall Map is truly stunning. The original print is dated back to 1896 when the British Empire was reaching its peak. The map details trade routes and uses shading to illustrate areas of the world under British control. A perfect historic piece for your historic Dad!

Board Mounted Personalised World Wall Map

Our Board Mounted Personalised World Wall Map is a unique take on our classic Political World Wall Map. With this map you can add a title and subtitle to your map, as well as being able to change border and text colours. Personalise your map to add a heartfelt touch to a top quality gift.

Give something unique this Father’s Day. Find the maps above, and more, at our online store.

May 21 13

Mary’s Moonwalk

by MattThomason

Contrary to popular belief, the Moonwalk isn’t just the signature dance move of the great Michael Jackson. It’s also the name of a fantastic event that aims to raise money for the global fight against breast cancer. The Moonwalk is an all night power walking challenge around the streets of central London. But that’s not all. The walk follows a massive 26 mile route and all participants (even the men) must do the walk in a bra!

Last week, our very own Mary Bohm left the Office to take on the challenge. Her team, the Leki Trekkers, consisted of three other ladies determined to raise money for the cause. In total Mary’s team raised a huge £780 for the charity and crossed the finish line in around 7.5 hours. Mary said it was “Most certainly an experience not to be missed although I feel it will be the only time I walk around London in my bra!”

We’d like to extend our congratulations to Mary for her amazing work and we’re proud to have her as part of the Maps International team. If you’d like to be a part of the 2014 Moonwalk then visit www.walkthewalk.org for more information.

Mary's Moonwalk

Jun 28 13

James Davenport’s Airport Map

by MattThomason

The power of flight has changed the way we live. Traversing the whole earth prior to flight would have taken days, if not months to complete. Now, we’re able to fly across the entire planet in a matter of hours. Each decade bringing with it more powerful and efficient aviation technologies. More and more British people take to the skies and holiday abroad, in an attempt escape from the traditional rain sodden summers of Britain.The increase in demand for air travel, coupled with a growth in multinational logistics has resulted in the construction of new airports, in all corners of the globe.

Cartographer, James Davenport has stowed away conventional cartographic boundaries and used digital mapping technology to create a map of the world, plotted using airports. The results are fantastic. Each small blue dot represents an airport and it’s clear to see where flight is the preferred means of travel. The USA appears to be swarming with airports, particularly towards its eastern coast. Whereas Asia tells an entirely different story, with what appears to be hundreds of miles between each airport.

The data for the airport map was gathered from ourairports.com and plots a total of 45,132 runways. The airports on the map range from dirt fields to airports the size of Heathrow. How many have you been to?

Airport Map

Jul 17 13

How to escape a British heat wave

by MattThomason

The UK is currently experiencing ‘Summer’. A phenomenon which happens once a year and usually consists of around a week of sunshine, followed by a lot of wet weather. This year, however, Britain is experiencing an ongoing heat wave, which is only getting hotter. A welcome change to the traditional British summer. The heat isn’t for everyone though and some people may want to escape from it, retreating to the coast to bathe in the sea, or in extreme cases, the other side of the world! So, where in the world are the best places to go to escape a British heat wave?

St Ives

1. Australia

Being south of the equator, Australia is currently in the middle of their winter, making it a perfect time to go there if you want to escape the heat. You can enjoy skiing down Victoria’s slopes or diving into the balmy waters of Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef.

2. South Africa

South Africa also lies South of the Equator and has a rather mild temperature during the summer months. Visit one of South Africa’s beautiful cities, try some local cuisine and watch the cricket, all in a cooler, more comfortable atmosphere.

3. Hokkaido, Japan

Hokkaido is Japan’s second biggest island. It has very cool summers and is home to some very rare flowers, native to the local climate. Despite the cool of summer, Hokkaido is a hotbed for seismic activity and there are still 6 active volcanoes on the island. Don’t let this put you off though, Hokkaido is a beautiful place with a number of vast National Parks to explore.

4. Cornwall, England

If you fancy taking a break a little closer to home, then the Cornwall coast is likely to be your best bet. Golden beaches, quaint seaside towns and Cornish ice cream make the intense heat a bit more bearable. Take a trip to “Porthminster” in St.Ives and the “Par Sands” beach in Par, next to St. Austell.

5. Greenland

When we think of holidays abroad, Greenland probably doesn’t top the list. Temperatures rarely exceed 10 degrees Celsius and most of the area is uninhabitable. However, there are a few specialised travel companies that will take you to the planet’s largest (non-continental) island, and you’ll get to stay as cool as a cucumber!

Written by guest blogger Jake Blay.

Aug 4 15

Premium wall maps for Interior Design Projects

by Neill Donaldson

Great interior design isn’t just about using space effectively and making it functional; it is also about creating a mood and giving a space character.

Interior Design with maps has become more and more desirable and is now a formidable part of many an interior designer’s arsenal.

No longer are maps the sole preserve of offices and boardrooms. Nowadays you can find them in any room of the house, sometimes taking centre stage as the star of the show, other times just subtlety influencing an atmosphere by adding a certain flavour to the room.

Faded effect wallpaper

Faded effect wallpaper

Dining rooms, kitchens, hallways, lounges & bedrooms all benefit from mapping. Perhaps just a splash of colour from a framed map will do, or the map could become the entire backdrop when used on wallpaper covering large areas.

Political wall map

Political wall map

You may want a World map, a British Isles map, a map of your home County, or perhaps some street mapping for your town/city. Some may even be maps as art, whereby the world shape is recreated in a different style, such as watercolour, or filled with text. There is a map to suit every personality of room and we can further personalise them by effects such as recolouring, fading or giving the map a vintage feel.

Greyscaled wallpaper in hallway

Greyscaled wallpaper in hallway

As well as making your home sparkle, using maps for interior design can help to increase the value and broaden the appeal of your property when selling. The visual appeal of mapping could be enough to help set your home above the competition.

Jul 29 15

Travel inspiration – visit a city of contrasts!

by Melissa Duffin

Maps International is back with our next MI top 5 places to visit this week. This week it is all about going on holiday to a city of contrasts. Take a look to see if you can find some inspiration!

1. Cape Town Central, South Africa

Cape Town Central, South Africa

Cape Town Central, South Africa

Visit the well known points of interest such as Table Mountain and Cape point.  If you are a chocolate lover, head to Torina Chocolate, tucked away on Kloof Nek Road and find over 100 artisan truffles and creams made on site!

Contrast: Being one of the most multicultural cities in the world, Cape Town’s mix of cultures makes it a buzz throughout the day with historical walks around the town and during the night with different cuisines and entertainment!

2. Cusco, Peru

Cusco, Peru

Cusco, Peru

Explore the ruins surrounding the beautiful city – especially the Sacsayhuaman – but don’t forget to come back into the city for the San Pedro Market and the Plaza de Armas.  If staying for a while use the Combis to get around as these will be cheaper than taxi’s; when you want to get off just yell “Baja!”.

Contrast: From the beautiful ruins this city has to offer to joining in the traditional bar game ‘Sapo’, enjoyed by many Peruvians whilst drinking chicha (corn beer).

3. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary

Take a look at the two most romantic architectural buildings – the Great Synagogue and the Viagado Concert Hall. Ruin pubs are a new trend in Budapest, preserving the beautiful architecture and turning them into trendy bars. Hop on a boat ride down the Danube to Margaret Island to walk around beautiful parks and visit the monastery’s ruins.

Contrast: From taking in the awe-inspiring architecture to taking part in a terrifying live escape game in an old abandoned house…

4. Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

Visit the city of contrasts and experience every part! One thing you will notice if you visit Bangkok is the amount of street vendors selling food and clothes. Watch as people lay wreaths in front of King Chulalongkorn’s equestrian statue in the Royal Plaza on 23 October. When you need a break from the concrete jungle, head over to a park such as Chatuchak or Lumphini to have a picnic and do some running or swimming.

Contrast: From shopping in the modernised megamalls to the 200 year old village homes that sit side by side on the streets of Bangkok.

5. Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Follow the tourist routes or adventure off on your own path, there is so much to see in Rome; from the Vatican, Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum to the Ostia Antica – a preserved port of the ancient city. Visit No.Au – a laid-back bar found in a hidden piazza in the heart of the centro storico.

Contrast: From touring the main points of interest in Rome to experiencing the intense musical scene (it hosts one of the worlds largest musical venues). Whatever you choose to do, make sure to enjoy a real rustic Italian pizzeria and top it off with a scoop of gelato, or three…

The Maps International scratch map is another great gift idea for those who love to travel as they can mark which destinations they have explored and decide where to go next. The scratch map is also a useful tool for children as it actively engages them in learning all about the world as well as having fun!

Jul 21 15

Travel inspiration – secret spots you must visit!

by Melissa Duffin

Still looking for some inspiration on where to travel this year? Fancy planning a last minute break away to relax or catch some sun before the summer ends. Here at Maps International we’ve put a list of a few places that we would like to visit this week – the MI top 5!

1. Marrakech, Morroco

Marrakech, Morroco

Marrakech, Morroco

Immerse yourself in the markets of Marrakech and find some fascinating arts and crafts. Join in a spectacular festival and don’t forget to enjoy the heavily spiced cuisine that Marrakech has to offer. A speciality of the city and a symbol of their cuisine is tangia marrakshia – a slow cooked beef dish cooked with spices in a traditional oven on hot ashes.

Secret tip: If you want to escape the mayhem of the souks, then retreat to the Kasbah quarter of the old medina and feel the tranquillity and peace engulf you.

2. Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Visit Istanbul and see its many amazing landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. Shop in one of the world’s oldest and largest covered markets, the Grand Bazaar, which has been in operation since 1461. Take in the architecture, reflecting the various people and empires that have previously ruled the city.

Secret tip: Leave the crowds of tourists and slip off downhill from Hagia Sophia, down cobbled backstreets to find hole-in-the-wall places to eat brimming with fresh fruits!

3. Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam

Break away to this tropical climate but take an umbrella with you as rainfall is high in the summer season. Don’t let that put you off though; Hanoi has many museums to explore if the weather gets too much such as the fine arts, air force and women’s museum. Join in an aerobic class whilst taking in the serenity and peacefulness around the parks. Fancy something exotic? Try a snake blood wine – not for the squeamish!

Secret tip: Wake up early and head to the flower market at 3am to be rewarded with fascinating colours and scents emerging from the darkness!

4. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic

Visit the picturesque capital of the Czech Republic and view its magnificence. Along with over 10 museums, numerous theatres and galleries, Prague is full of culture. Don’t forget to try one of their many beers whilst taking in the breathtaking views.

Secret tip: Visit Vojanovy Sandy – Prague’s first public park – a beautiful, quiet landscape which is perfect for a romantic stroll or afternoon of book reading.

5. New York City, New York

New York City, New York

New York City, New York

Walk down the streets of the New York, take a picnic around central park, visit a thrilling Broadway musical and take a look at all the shops! You’ll never be bored in the city that never sleeps.

Secret tip: Step off the tour bus because the only way to see the best hidden spots is by foot! Go to Pomander Walk and see the neighbourhood of Tudor-style houses on the upper west side.

The pin board mount world map allows you to pin all the places that you have been and help you visually decide where you should visit next. Choose this finish on our political world map as well as the antique, environmental, world is art range and many more! This is the perfect gift for those that like to travel. Go that extra step and personalise it with writing and a specific colour theme.

If you still can’t decide why not use one of our world wall maps to close your eyes and point to a country - careful not to end up in the sea!

Jul 15 15

Celebrate the anniversary of the first man on the moon!

by Melissa Duffin

On July 16th 1969, 46 years ago tomorrow, Neill Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins set off on Apollo 11 to land on the moon. Just four days later this goal was achieved with Armstrong and Aldrin walking on the moon whilst Collins stayed in orbit to do experiments and take pictures. This giant leap for mankind should not be forgotten.

man-on-moon

Anniversary of the moon landing

On July 24th all three astronauts returned to Earth safely. Since then, another 10 people have walked on the moon.

Here at Maps International we are passionate about the world around us. If you are too why not celebrate this anniversary by purchasing one of our exciting glow in the dark Star Maps, ideal for those who love to explore the universe or for those who simply like star gazing.

star-map

Star Map Print

This map is perfect for a child’s bedroom as it works well as an education tool as well as a comforting glow for those who are scared of the dark.

star-map-glow

Star Map Glowing

With the summer holidays round the corner, this map will keep your child entertained and may even spark them to do more research into stars and the universe beyond!

Jun 17 15

Maps for Schools - an Educational Blog

by Liam

Keeping a child’s mind occupied in the classroom may be easier said than done. With this in mind, us over here at Maps International have a wonderful selection of maps, that will prove to be a very useful teaching resource, guaranteed to help develop their young minds in both an interesting and fun way. We would love to see one of our maps in every classroom across the UK, and this is great place to start!

Maps are a quite simply a fascinating resource. Not only are they visually stunning, but they’re also a major educational tool. Having a map in the classroom is sure to intrigue a child’s mind, and it will also help them to learn a bit more about the world in which we live in.

The good people over at National Geographic wrote an interesting article last year, which talks about how the spatial thinking and learning of children is key. “Spatial thinking involves visualizing, interpreting, and reasoning using location, place, distance, direction, relationships, movement, and change in space.” With the aid of a map, a child can develop their spatial learning, and this can lead to students being at an educational advantage, especially within today’s interconnected society.

A map has a vast array of uses, and is beneficial across the educational board, applicable to many subjects. Whether you try to avoid it or not, maps play a role in our everyday lives, and giving children the extra opportunity to read and interpret maps, is a lifelong skill, surely worth taking the time to learn.

Maps for Schools - an Educational Blog

Maps for Schools - an Educational Blog

Maps International have a huge selection of maps, where you’re guaranteed to find something to suit you and your needs. As you can see from the image above, you can test children’s knowledge of countries, by asking them to identify their location on a map. This is not only an engaging way to interactively learn, but children are sure to have a lot of fun too. As well as the wider world, children can also develop their knowledge of UK geography, as seen from the picture below. You can see the children are really enjoying learning, using our maps!

Maps for Schools - an Educational Blog

Why not head over to our website, and see our selection of maps, that would be the perfect for a teacher, or even a parent looking to help develop their children’s’ geography knowledge further. Over the last few decades, many countries have changed names, and we’ve even seen the introduction of new countries, so this might be a perfect opportunity for us adults to brush up on our geography knowledge too.

Maps for Schools - an Educational Blog

Like the look of our Large Political Primary World Wall Map? Get it here: http://bit.ly/1JTiZoF

Happy learning!

Jun 4 15

How maps have navigated into the home

by Ronnie Hazley

Map creation arose over 5,000 years ago from our desire to explore the world and has given us the ability to gain some perspective about the landscape we live in.

As Maps International celebrates its 50th year, in this article we will explore the traditional uses of maps in modern history and how through cultural changes and trends they have become more prevalent in art and home decor.

Map Uses

Navigational Maps have played a vital role in our ability to plan our travel routes. We have used these physical maps for hundreds of years to explore places and travel across oceans. Navigational maps also exist for activities such as trekking and cycling. Maps allow us to discover land, sea and air through road maps, nautical and aeronautical charts. The digital age has given us portable navigation with sat navs and mobile devices which feature GPS tracking.

Maps used as general reference tools are also important in our everyday lives. There is an abundance of data available with maps such as location information on  railways, bus stations, post offices, schools, hospitals and places of interest to name a few. By searching the internet we are able to source maps to find out ‘where’ places are in our world.

We also use maps to communicate to each other. For example the media use maps to convey information or a story that are difficult to express verbally. Maps can also be used to convince and persuade, or even as propaganda tools.

In business we use maps as planning tools so that we can identify the best business location or to map our customers and competitors.

Maps as decorative art

Giant world map for the home

Giant world map for the home

By their nature, tangible maps are a snapshot in history. A record of our world at the time a map maker created their work. Looking back at maps in history is what is most interesting as they tell a story of how society saw itself at that particular time. Perhaps it’s this story which allows us to view maps as things of beauty and as decorative art we adorn our walls with.

To see how maps were introduced to the home as pieces of art we have to look at home decor in a historical context. Post war years saw a renaissance in interior design where normally functional aspects of the home were now seen as design pieces. Mass production and contemporary home decor has allowed us to introduce a variety of designs into our living room. This choice has placed maps at the top of the shopping list when it comes to decorating our home.

The internet has a multitude of ‘Getting creative with maps’ , with DIY style guides on making unique creations for the home. From building your own canvas map wall art to map decoupage, these have become trend guides and fuelled the popularity for maps in the home.

Maps have the ability to draw your eyes in to explore its detail and can be a real talking point. We all have a story to tell which involves a map. Whether it’s a place you were born or where you met your significant other. These tangible representations of our world are much more than the functional tools we normally use them for. They represent who we are as people and allow each of us to tell our own stories. So apart from being aesthetically pleasing on the eye these symbolic depictions give us the ability to introduce personalised art into our homes.

Apr 28 15

UK General Election 2015 - Where the Outcome May Be Decided

by Liam

So next week is the UK General Election 2015. Great Britain currently has a lot of uncertainty looming over it, but luckily for you Lovell Johns have created a map, to help us visualise and gain a better understanding of where the election outcome may be decided.

The map was created using data from Election Forecast which shows the likely marginals across Britain. This data isn’t based on the percentage swing needed for a constituency to change hands, but instead based on where election forecasters are unsure which political party will win a constituency.

As you may already know, there’s a major element of uncertainty in this General Election, and the public are asking themselves if one party may win enough votes to win the election by an overall majority, or whether some form of relationship is to be formed between a few different parties.

Data extracted and correct on 20/04/2015.

Data extracted and correct on 20/04/2015.

The map has to be taken with a pinch of salt, as the weaknesses in the data can obviously make for less reliable result. Can you remember back to the 2010 General Election? The forecast predictions were quite weakly correlated with the actual final outcome of the election.

Here are some key points about this map:

  • This map shows the seats where the Election Forecast model is less than 95% confident which political party will win seats in a particular constituency

  • The map is only as good as the forecast model used

  • There isn’t much constituency-level polling in the UK, so predictions are not as strong

  • However, the map is likely to indicate many of the key seats where the election outcome will be determined

  • The map and Election Forecast model only covers Great Britain. The data and the political dynamic is different in Northern Ireland so no seats have been included

  • A weakness of the model is that it isn’t strong at predicting how newer parties, such as UKIP, will fare in the upcoming election

What do you think the election outcome will result in on May 7th? Tell us in the comments below. Click here to see a more detailed version of the map, as well as a list of likely marginals for seats across the UK.

Apr 27 15

Join In With Election Fever. Host Your Own General Election Results Party!

by Liam

Post revised on 27th April 2015.

You have read the manifestos, watched the TV political debates, and decided who you are going to vote for. However, now you can make Election Night possibly the most exciting night of the year by hosting your own General Election Results Party!

We have a party pack which has all you need to get the party started!

Our General Election Map Party Pack contains a paper version of the UK Parliamentary Boundary Outline Wall Map, as well as a pack of 12 crayons, so you can update the map as the results come in.

Take a look below for some ideas to make your General Election Results Party go with a swing!

General Election Map Party Pack - Updating The Results As They Come In!

General Election Map Party Pack - Updating The Results As They Come In!

Fun & Games

Split party attendees into teams, and using the General Election Map Party Pack, update the outline map with team predictions as to the constituency results. You can fill in the results as soon as they come in, straight onto the map using the crayons provided, and compare them to the team predictions. Reward the winning team with food / drink and encourage them to make a victory speak. The losers in turn will have to do more canvassing door to door (or carrying drinks from fridge to the winner’s hands)!

Alternatively, as the night progresses, simply alter the results and update these onto your own personal map should you not be happy with them! As the alcohol goes down and the night progresses you might even decide that you would rather stand for campaign yourself - so why not update your personal seat gains onto the map?

Play political bingo by making some bingo cards using a range of clichéd phrases that come up time and again in political speeches, and the current election issues. Cross off the boxes as you hear the phrases or election issues,and win a prize for the first line and full house!

Drinking games. These can be linked in with the bingo (as above), or according to other predetermined rules. For example if a party losers a seat, you have to drink 3 fingers worth of drink in that party’s colour. Make drinks according to the party colours of yellow, red, and blue e.g. cocktails with Bols blue, vodka, and lemonade or even make banana smoothies for non-drinkers. Red wine is always a winner!

Have a drink every time something exciting happens such as:

Polling stations close

First constituency result

First marginal seat result

Someone claims ‘it’s too early to call’

Political leader’s wife looks pensive

Minister loses seat

A party leader concedes defeat

The victory speech

Make dummy’s or mannequins to represent political leaders. As the results come in, the political party in the lead could have their dummy moved into a more prominent position in the house, and adorned with trophies. Or the losing party could see their leader’s manikin put into the garden or covered up using an old blanket, or if you are particularly frustrated with the performance, kick their mannequins apart!

Food

Serve a buffet of food in the colours of the main election parties. Offer a range of red, yellow, and blue coloured foods which could include yellow and red peppers, blue cheese, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and sweetcorn. Snack on them throughout the night or eat a selection of food according to how the political parties are doing.

Music

Play a range of tunes from artists or lyrics inspired by politics or politicians.

Think ‘Everybody wants to rule the world’ by Tears for Fears, or songs that have been part of a political campaign such as ‘Things can only get better’ by D:reem.

Use your imagination, for example, think back to Dizzee Rascal’s epic appearance on Newsnight. ‘Dizzee Rascal for Prime Minister’ and put on your favourite Dizzee track, we recommend ‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’ or ‘Bonkers’ to get the party started!

Use keep landmarks in the evening to alter the mood:

Losing seats:

‘Loser’ by Beck,

‘Every loser wins’ by Nick Berry

‘When the going gets tough’ by Billy Ocean or Boyzone

‘I just don’t know what to do with myself’ by Dusty Springfield or White Stripes

Winning constituencies:

‘Everyone’s a winner’ by Hot Chocolate

‘Don’t stop me now’ or “We are the champions” by Queen

Fancy Dress

Encourage party attendees to dress up as famous politicians, or dress according to party colours.

These are just a few ideas to get your General Election Results Party going with a swing.

General Election Map Party Pack

General Election Map Party Pack

If you have a General Election Results Party, don’t forget to order your General Election Map Party Pack today! Let us know how your party goes…

Apr 22 15

Love London in Your Home

by Liam

The English capital is loved by many, and is one of the most visited cities in the world. London has something that will appeal to everyone, ranging from the city’s rich history, diverse culture, stunning art, and innovative architecture.

Here at Maps International we stock a number of stunning Maps of London, that are guaranteed to add an elegant style to your wall space. These London maps incorporate a stylish appearance and a high quality product, which is made to suit any interior environment such as your home or office.

With this in mind, we thought that we would showcase to you, some of our most interesting and popular Maps of London, which will hopefully inspire you to Love London in Your Home.

London City Skyline

Love London in Your Home

Love London in Your Home

There’s not much more beautiful than the London skyline. The pinnacle of outstanding architecture is highlighted by the stunning building designs, and this map brings the city’s skyline to life. This bright and colourful map encompasses bold and dynamic watercolours to bring excitement and a healthy dose of colour to any wall space.

London City Skyline Wallpaper

London City Skyline Wallpaper

London City Skyline Wallpaper

This huge version of our London City Skyline map, is supplied on wallpaper which makes it extremely easy to fit in any room of your home or office. The wallpaper makes for a great focal point of the room and the colour is sure to attract anyone, with the maps aesthetically pleasing design.

A-Z Pictorial Canvas Map Central London 1938

A-Z Pictorial Canvas Map Central London 1938

A-Z Pictorial Canvas Map Central London 1938

Take a look back into the history of London with this wonderfully coloured A-Z Pictorial Map of Central London, which was published in 1938. This detailed map includes landmark locations and places of great interest. The huge map comes in a variety of sizes and can be supplied as a rolled map or ready made canvas.

A-Z Canvas London Street Map

A-Z Canvas London Street Map

A-Z Canvas London Street Map

This classic Street Map of London can be a useful navigation tool for finding your way around the city. Now you can display this iconic London A-Z Street Map on your wall space, with the quality canvas frame.

If you like the look of these designs head over to our website and see for yourselves the stunning collection of Maps of London which we stock. You will be sure to find a design that will suit your style and compliment that empty wall space you’ve been looking to fill!

Apr 1 15

The UK is predicted to move closer to America in the next 200 years!

by Liam

Geographic enthusiast and scientist John Flask has conducted research into the movement of plate tectonics, and how they are predicted to shift over the next 200 years. His findings are truly mind-blowing.

Research into the matter was developed in Portland North State University, United States, and was released late last night. Cartographers around the world seem to be going crazy over the idea, and it’s huge news for any mapping company.

Flask suggests that within the course of the next 200 years the UK will actually shift a considerable rate, closer towards the United States and further away from Europe.

The map below shows the predicted change.

The UK is predicted to move closer to America in the next 200 years!

The UK is predicted to move closer to America in the next 200 years!

This research has truly amazed us, and it’s fascinating to think how much different a world map will look through the movement of plate tectonics, and the shift of the UK across the Atlantic Ocean.

The movements further away from Europe is sure to hold many complications including, trading and exports, and also political barriers. Not to mention the despair for cartographers around the world who will have to alter maps to account for the change.

What do you think of Flasks research? Can you see this happening? Let us know in the comments below!