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Custom Digital Maps

Version: March 2010


Ordering your Custom Digital Maps


Ordering your maps could not be simpler! Each of our Map types (Atlas Maps , Location Maps , Multi-Map Series, Specialised Maps, Pro Maps and Printable Maps) has its own dedicated Order Online page where the information gathered is specific only to that map type. Furthermore, you are not in anyway expected to know the exact details of what you want, just the very basic facts are enough to get going. The moment we receive your enquiry we will re-confirm everything with you once again via email, and if there are any questions either way then these will be addressed at this time. Only once the details are confirmed will the order be considered finalised and you will be issued with an invoice.


Are my Custom Digital Maps copy-protected?


As much as we'd like to give you one there is no straight or easy answer to this question. The reason for this is that it is very easy to copy just about anything one likes from any web page. Yes, there are various ways of disabling the ability of save off a web page but none are really reliable, especially if someone is determined enough. So, to protect your digital map investment the only other way to prevent your digital maps from popping up on unscrupulous websites is to incorporate as many unique and identifiable elements into them as possible. Your logo is one obvious element to include, as is a 'watermark' in the background, copyright notice etc. A Multi-Map Series has the added benefit of having custom content which is often not applicable outside of its own environment. All the custom digital maps produced by Custom Digital Maps incorporate as many of these elements as possible so you can rest assured that your carefully crafted custom digital maps will remain your own.


Custom Digital Map sizes


Maps for websites, presentations, emailing etc
By size we mean the width x height in pixels (px) of the map. Width is the really important measurement as the map has to fit into an existing website page and there is always a limit to how wide a page can be. Height is secondary and in fact we prefer to keep it proportional to the width. The reason for this is simple, take a map of South Africa which fits snugly into a square shape and compare it to a map of the Cape Peninsula or the Kruger National Park or Norway, which are very tall areas but not very wide. Keeping the width set for each map and the height proportional allows the flexibility needed to cover the areas properly.

We recommend a minimum width of 450 pixels, with 550 to 650 pixels being the optimum. Both larger and smaller maps, if specifically needed, can of course be produced. If you know the exact map size you need then great, if you do not then we will create the map using a width of 500 pixels.

Printable Maps
Printable maps are talked about in width x height in millimetres (mm), centimetres (cm) or International/US page size like A5, A4, A3, A2 etc.


What features are on the Custom Digital Map and what is the appropriate level of detail?


All maps include coasts and international borders, ocean and country names, major cities and major national routes. From there they may also include provincial borders, major and minor towns, minor routes, major and minor route numbers, national parks and private game reserves, major lakes and rivers, major mountain ranges, major points of interest etc etc - together with the hundreds of smaller features such as airports, wine farms, harbours, bays and beaches, whale-watching spots, lighthouses, railways and train stations, cable ways and ski-lifts... the list goes on and on.

Having said all that please bear in mind that no single digital map can sport too many features and in all instances a happy medium needs to be found between the physical size of the map (width x height in pixels), the scale of the map (its coverage area), and the appropriate level of detail. As a very basic example you wouldn't expect to see names of suburbs on a map of the African continent just like you wouldn't expect to see names of continents, or countries for that matter, on a map of a suburb. Our years of experience in putting custom digital maps together has given us a great sense of what does and does not work and what is the appropriate level of detail for any given scale. We will of course do our best to include all the features you want on a map, however, it remains important to keep in mind that there are limits.


How are the Custom Digital Maps supplied?


Most commonly via email as a ready to use GIF file. A GIF file, for those of you who are curious, is the de-facto file format for online graphics, like the JPG file is for online photographs. Just save the GIF directly into your website files, place it on your page and Bob's your uncle. If you require us to add clickable hotspots (a.k.a. image maps) to your maps (which we will do free of charge for all but the largest of projects) then we will supply you with the GIF file embedded in an HTML file with the hotspots code included (both files supplied vie email in a ZIP file). All our maps are also available in the original, fully-layered PSD File format (native Adobe™ Photoshop® File). PSD files are only supplied on request and at an extra cost. Ordering your own PSD's will allow you to personally edit, add or remove any elements on the map using Adobe™ Photoshop® CS3+ software. Fonts (in PC .ttf file format) used on your maps are included with the PSD files.


Updating your Custom Digital Maps


Minor updates and alterations to all our maps remain free of charge indefinitely. Send us an email with your request and we will email you the new updated GIF file within 24 to 48 hours. It's that simple! This means that your maps will always remain current as your website expands sans you worrying about potential update costs. The only request we have is that you provide a text link back to from your website.

Changes of scale or coverage which requires a re-draw, major additions or re-arrangements of elements (or high volumes thereof), major alteration of map colours etc will be charged for. Prices for re-draws and major updates range from 25 to 75% of the original map cost, depending on the amount of work that needs to be done.


Can I re-size my Custom Digital Maps?


In a nutshell, No. All our maps, with the exception of Custom Printable Maps, have to be used in their original size i.e. at 100%. Making the maps smaller or bigger will result in a loss of clarity, ranging from slight to severe. The reasons for this are pretty complicated and involve pixels, bitmaps and the inner workings of your monitor. If these things do not interest you then stop reading right here - the answer is still no. So what happens if you really do need a bigger or smaller version of your map(s)? To remain clear the maps have to be re-drawn at the new size, the cost of which is approx. 50% of the original map cost.

Our maps are essentially hand-painted in pixels using Photoshop brushes, also known as in bitmap format. One pixel on the map is equal to exactly one pixel on your monitor which is why our maps can use tiny fonts and ultra-thin lines and still look exceptionally clear on screen. If you adjust the maps size you stretch or compress each pixel so the very carefully engineered relationship between the map and the monitor is disrupted and things no longer equal each other. Chaos!

Having said all this it is in fact very rare to be in a situation where you do need to re-size a map. With larger Multi-Map Series projects you may find that the coverage of some maps may have to be altered down the line but again, this is rare. Good planning beforehand is the key to keeping mistakes at a minimum.


Printing your Custom Digital Maps


If you want to use your digital map online as well as print them to fax or hand out we can supply a medium-res version of your map at a small surcharge which will produce good results on your home/office printer up to about A3 (half an A4) in size. Any bigger than that and for professional high-resolution printing please head straight to our Custom Printable Maps section.


Custom Digital Map copyright, ownership and usage restrictions


Copyright is defined as "the exclusive right to produce copies and to control an original work", the digital maps in this case. The details vary a bit depending on the type of map project it is, but as a rule of thumb all maps are supplied with limited copyright, though in no way restrictively so. Restrictions include limits on the number of different url's on which the maps may be used (with the exception of Location Maps), re-selling of maps is not allowed etc. That's about it really. More detailed information can be found on the various Custom Digital Map pages.


Why no contact telephone numbers?


To be honest we were losing so much precious studio time dealing with telephone enquiries that it all simply got a bit much so we no longer publish our contact numbers on the site. All new enquiries are dealt with via the various online contact forms or via plain old email (

Rest assured, however, that should you decide to make use of our services you will be given all the details you need.

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