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January 8th, 2008
Map Studio History

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PR – As a commemorative of our 50th Anniversary MapStudio™ has produced this calendar depicting maps from the past.
As one of our valued partners, we invite you to share with us our journey of growth and evolution.

• The ancient cartographers •

Maps have defined our world since the earliest times, traveling way back to the first hand-drawn brush-on-parchment maps of the Babylonians and the ancient Greeks and Romans. Once, we believed the world was flat, and fear and lack of knowledge prevented us from  venturing further a field. Then, with the invention of the telescope and sextant, we discovered the world was round and the first explorers set out to discover the earth’s realm. From our earliest existence, we’ve relied on maps to record and make sense of our environment, to plan stealthy paths into battle against our adversaries, to plot courses across uncharted seas using only the stars to guide our ships, and to record for posterity the radiating circles of prosperous ancient walled cities. The passage of time has witnessed its fair share of conflict in the development of  mapping. During medieval times, information deemed valuable and influential by the powerful churches ruling over the land remained firmly in their hands, thus limiting the dissemination of new, ground-breaking map knowledge. During the Renaissance, however, with the flowering of art, literature and learning, mapping grew in great leaps to keep ahead of expansion, colonization and the burgeoning commerce that
followed. Maps have always been created in response to new and differing needs in our world, and following the Renaissance and into the 17th century, they evolved into more than general reference maps. They became more representative and also thematic, serving the specific needs of the users by reflecting climate, population figures and the distribution of geology and vegetation.

• The modern evolution •

Across the centuries and into modern times, maps have finally come into their own. More than just a representation of the facts, today  information based on levels of importance can be manipulated and assigned to the content of the final map product. Despite our electronic age, we still need maps to get to a business meeting or to guide us on a weekend hiking trail; for practical purposes or the fulfillment of  globetrotting dreams; for a national conference or an intrepid wild adventure. Maps are essential to movement and travel – to planning, exploring and negotiating a way through our world. And on our fast-paced globe, technology has always been a key factor in mapping  evolution. First, the printed word began with hand-held tools, then movable type, progressing to printing presses and finally to the current  digital revolution with its mass databases and huge storage abilities. Cartography followed in the tracks of the printed word,evolving from manual, then mechanical and photochemical processes to modern electronic technologies. The general reference, figurative and navigational maps of old are still required, yet modern life now demands aeronautical, statistical and in-car navigation maps as well as the recent hand-held digital devices. With progress come an increased need, greater speed and more efficient production. This, in turn, has made more information
available to more people in shorter periods of time.

• Speed, efficiency, accuracy •

Consumers have come to demand better-quality, more accurate maps at lower prices. They find it unacceptable if maps are incorrect and out of date, despite our ever-changing world in which here, a new street is constructed; there a road is closed for good, and elsewhere a new building complex mushrooms into the sky. But finally technology is on our side. The computer mouse has replaced ancient hand-tools; time-consuming mechanical machines have given way to electronic and digital equipment. The basic principles of cartography remain the same, however. As cartographers, we dream up a great idea, collect the necessary data, edit and structure the information to produce a database which we then manipulate with current technologies, and finally we print a paper product or the map is made available electronically. Technology has its limits, however. A specific technology cannot always suit every task, and each map is different. The result is a handful of
specialized companies employing highly skilled people who produce an extensive range of unique products.

• Birth of MapStudio™ •

In 1958, modern cartography was in its infancy, evolving from mechanical to photomechanical processes. Map Studio Productions started its life that year as a survey company operating two survey aircraft; commercial mapping was restricted to atlases for oil companies and maps for Avis. The company’s first map produced for sale to the public was the Businessman’s Wall Map of South Africa, which sold for R10.95. Today it is in its 13th edition. The company’s survey-map training enabled us, as cartographers, to learn our craft via the old, original way – the knowledge we gained was passed down from early generations of cartographers, and it will always be a part of our DNA. Amongst the various aerial survey companies of the day, the competition was intensely keen, so Map Studio Productions owner Bill Buckley decided to join forces with Herbert Kupka, who owned Map Centre. Together they marketed the first Witwatersrand street guide at under R10.00. In 1981 Bill Buckley bought out Map Studio Productions from the then owner, Hortors Group, and Buckley Map Productions (Pty) Limited was born. The product range grew with extensive streetfinders of the major cities, mini-maps, wall maps and a range of street guides which now includes Durban and Cape Town. In 1986 Struik Publishing took control of the company, then trading as MapStudio™, and it moved from its countryside offices in Kramerville to Selby in Johannesburg. Today MapStudio™ is part of Johnnic Communications, with production based in Cape Town and sales outlets in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

• MapStudio™ products •

Today we realize that in a constantly changing world, we always need to change with it. With the advent of Global Imaging systems and web-based software like Google Earth®, the sphere of cartography has never been more exciting, allowing everyone access to geographic data and geo-information. In order to appeal to an increasingly discerning traveler, greater numbers of foreign visitors and a visually-oriented modern generation, our product comes smartly packaged with a higher level of sophistication. Bright, quality travel images are matched with inspiring text to create a more visual product that solidly squares up to a competitive market. MapStudio’s™ up-to-date information, accuracy and level of map detail have made it ‘the name you can trust’. Our heritage remains important to us. We know we can only move forward by acknowledging the role of the past – building on the inventions of previous centuries and ever improving on the ideas masterminded by those who came before us. MapStudio™ produces over 20 different series of maps consisting of street guides, road maps, pocket maps, tourist maps, wall maps, educational maps, atlases and globes, branded products for National Geographic® as well as customized or branded products for individual clients. Our products are available digitally and in printed form.




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