Russell Bolden and Jesse Little of Sydney, Australia have developed a web-app that enables anyone to create a toposcope for any location on earth. You define a ‘home’ location either by searching an address or placing a pin on Google Maps. It’s then the same process for defining POI’s. The result is a personalized azimuthal equi-distant map projection that they then make by laser engraving the image in a range of materials including timber and stainless steel.
While people in the GIS space might geek-out on this idea, Russell and Jesse’s intention is to make toposcopes or MapWheels as they have branded them, accessible to everyone. “Traditionally toposcopes are found at look-outs to help the visitor identify key landscape features and POI’s. We want MapWheels to be very personal and sentimental pieces of home décor that everyone should consider having” Russell said. “We encourage people to include locations that are special to them such as places they’ve travelled, where friends and loved ones live and where major life events have taken place such as where you ran your first half-marathon.” At less than $70 (USD) they are also priced at a level accessible to everyone.
They’ve made the process of creating a MapWheel quite engaging by allowing personalization beyond choosing the locations. The user gets to choose from a range of decorative features such as a border pattern, a font and what material it’s to be made from. You can also include a personal message which is great if you want to gift a MapWheel.