Featured Publisher - MapSherpa

The team at MapSherpa are experts in digital mapping and were one of the pioneers in delivering maps to consumers via the web and a variety of media beyond the traditional paper maps.

These days, they are changing the map distribution landscape for publishers and retailers, addressing the needs of today's marketplace including innovative solutions for printing on demand of commercially available maps as well as customized and personalized map products.

MapSherpa joined the Avenza Map Store family in 2018 with a collection of unique maps of areas of interest to winter sports fans and travelers to the winter games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Avenza Maps users could purchase and download the maps from series of maps highlighting the venue locations in the PyeongChang Mountains and Gangneung Coastal Cluster venues. There's also a detailed street map of central Seoul, and an overview of South Korea featuring key cities and towns, roadways and geographic relief.

We wanted to get to know The MapSherpa team (who happen to be fellow Canadians!) a little better so we sat down for a chat one day with Dave McIlhagga, the founder and CEO of MapSherpa.

AM: We're Canadian too! Where exactly are you from?

MS: MapSherpa is based in Canada's capital city of Ottawa and has strong links to Carleton University where many of us studied Geography with specialization in Geographic Information Systems and Cartographic Principles. This background has always been an important component of our focus and passion as a business.


AM: How long have you been making maps?

MS: We’ve been making maps since our university days, which means some of us have been in the GIS and Cartographic worlds for over 20 years! The company itself has been operating for over 20 years, and though we have also focused on improving the technology aspects of making maps more accessible to consumers, we’ve been involved in map making throughout.


AM: Over 20 years, you must have maps for a lot of different purposes. Can you give us a few examples?

MS: We’ve made maps for what seems like every need imaginable. From disease mapping, to traditional street mapping, to real-time mapping of 20,000 emergency response vehicles during the Gulf oil spill crisis, and everything in between. Because of when we got into the business, many of our maps have been for interactive use in Mobile or Online - however many of our maps are used in printed form as well. With the winter games last year, we thought it would be interesting to make a set of maps focusing on the region and the venues, many of which were quite new.


AM: What makes your maps unique?

MS: We’ve always specialized in making maps more accessible to consumers, be it through technology or cartography. Because of this, we’re willing to sacrifice some of the traditional geographic principles in the interest of getting useful products to people in a timely manner and in way that’s easy for them to access.


AM: As a group of people that are passionate about maps, is there one map that you haven't made yet, that you'd like to someday?

MS: With all we’ve done, ironically “MapSherpa” has never made a map of the Himalayan mountains, including Mount Everest. So if there was one map we would love to make one day, it’s probably of Everest.


AM: What is your favorite place in the world, Dave?

MS: Wow, that’s a tough question - so many amazing unique places around the world, and so many I’ve never been to but want to see! I have to pick something, so I'll pick a recent place I enjoyed a lot that I did get to visit called Fraser Island off the east coast of Australia. It’s the world’s largest sand island at over 120 km long making it very geographically unique, with stunning blue water, a rain forest (!) and fresh water lakes that have some of the purest water in the world because of the sand base.


AM: Sounds stunning! Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, we're glad you've joined the Avenza Maps family, and we look forward to more MapSherpa maps soon.


Check out MapSherpa's maps in the Avenza Map Store. You can find MapSherpa's full collection of on-demand print maps at http://maptrove.ca/