Review: Future Mapping Company magnetic map
Once maps would be marked with sea monsters, creatures of the deep to show that beyond the known world lay terra incognita. And while humans might have mapped out the world’s lands (if not the oceans), for me, there’s still a sense of exploring the unknown whenever I look at a map.
The exotic names of countries far away, of islands so small they’re barely a speck, of places which speak of myth and legend – Timbuktu, Samarkand, Xanadu. The places I long to see one day, just as evocative – the ‘Lost City’ of Machu Picchu, the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Bohol’s Chocolate Hills, the chance to see dragons on Komodo Island.
And the memories they rekindle: the adventures, the first glimpses of new cultures, the perfect sunny days with my daughter, the discoveries. No wonder I plaster my life with maps, from bed linen to phone cover, decorating the walls of my office as I type.
While I still have a soft spot for those medieval maps, gilded and filled with fantastical beasts, I also love the practical ones – the world as it is today, which I can mark to show my travels, my wishlist. The best maps, in fact, are both beautiful and useful.
Which is why I was mentally measuring my wall space, as soon as I was offered one to review by The Future Mapping Company. With brightly coloured inks which pop from behind their frames, they’re a very fun alternative to the usual.
The classic world map suggested was too big for my little office, but that didn’t leave me short of choice. Tempted by the Future Maps, with their accurate representation of country sizes – so disconcerting after years seeing the standard attempts to replicate a globe in 2D – there are also maps showing the British Isles, Europe and the USA, along with city maps including London, star maps, an Olympic-inspired map and you can even get it made into wallpaper.
But the vibrant shades of the Winkel Triple World Map was the one to catch my eye, balancing accuracy and style. And even better you can choose to have a magnetised version – as well as paper or plastic coated. There’s also a choice of frames for the various different maps.
Mine, white framed to match the surround, came with a handful of small round magnetic balls. Having carefully placed them to mark our most recent and upcoming trips, Minnie instantly pounced before I could put it up on the wall, rearranging them to her heart’s content and investigating a few of the places she’s visited along the way.
Sturdy without being too unwieldy, mine weighs in at less than 4kg, useful when your decorations are all held up with command strips.
With the different colours clearly showing where the various countries start and end, it’s easy enough for kids to read (or those of us whose geography is still a bit shaky, despite a love of maps). And there’s also detailed sections showing Antarctica or the point where Russia meets Alaska, not to mention detail of the smallest islands and the ocean landscape – I can’t decide if I’m more fascinated by the idea of the Demerera Plain or the Barracuda Fracture Zone.
Because beautiful though it is, the accuracy makes it a fabulous tool for learning about the world too. Another lovely touch is that the company sells a number of maps to schools at 50% off each year.
Even better, I have an unframed magnetised version of the Classic World Map to give away – ts and cs, plus details of how to enter below. What better to feed your own wanderlust? Good luck and bon voyage – and watch out for any giant squid…
Main image copyright MummyTravels, all others courtesy of the Future Mapping Company
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