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Richard-Wagner-Strasse 13 - 68165, Mannheim

Des.Kartes mapping: options for a beautiful map

As you can see from the examples on our site, when ordering your map you need to think about how you want it look when finished.

On this page we list the styles and customizations we can provide for you.  Once we receive your inquiry, we will, of course, be happy to provide you with feedback. Sometimes, this may be necessary because certain combinations of options do not (generally) result in an aesthetically pleasing map. At other times, we may just provide you with our professional opinion about making your map more effective.

Not all of the the options shown in the following table are relevant for every map. But when we understand what you want to map, we'll be there to advise.

Altitude contour (isometric) lines  option isolines If you want to include isometric lines on your map, then the height line labels (values) can be eliminated or selectively provided (for example, only every 20, 50, 100 units, as desired). They can be "buffered" (as shown here, in white) for better readability or not, to better "blend in" to the background.
Hillshading  option hillshade Hillshading creates the illusion of a 3D surface on your map. (Hillshading colors are determined by applying a color ramp. Most hillshaded maps use one of a few "common" color ramps (see below) to provide this 3D effect. If you have other maps or an atlas where hillshading is used, you can examine these. But we can advise you, too.
Color ramps option color ramp

Employing color, you will decisively influence the "look and feel" of your map. With continuous phenomena which -- in the case of hiking maps -- almost always means altitude, your choice of a specific color ramp can be the most visible evidence of your personal preference. 

We can certainly advise you about color choice. In general, we tend to prefer "natural" colors but the judicious use of more dramatic color ramps can often augment the visual impact of your map. 

Feature form or coloring options (symbology)

 option features colors

option features lines

Specific features for the map may be organized into categories. When this is the case, you can decide if you want to use different colors or forms to show these categories. Small color differences may not always be visible and too many categories may not be a good idea but your might want to keep some distinctions. 

For example, for a forest you might want to use three or four different greens, indicating how heavy the treecover is, or the type of treecover (evergreen, deciduous, pastureland). Likewise, to distinguish permanent from intermittent waterways, you could do this by varying line form.

Inset map

 option inset map

Almost by definition, the area where you hike is distant from populated places or other locations which would make it easy to identify for anyone looking at your map. 

To effectively -- and attractively -- indicate where on the globe your hike took place, it is easy to have a small inset placed on your map. 


 day distance legend

elevation profile

We can calculate basic statistics about your hike and place them on the map.

If you would like to show an elevation profile and or the daily and/or total distances of the trace of your walk, we'll accomodate you and integrate this data into your final product.

Map projection option map projections

Your hike took place somewhere on the earth´s 3-dimensional sphere, but your map has to be shown on a 2-dimensional surface. There are many methods ("projections") to do this and in most cases, as the geographical area of your hike will be relatively small, there will be no real visible differences between these methods.

However, if you want a map showing numerous hikes, covering an large area -- for example a whole country -- you can tell us if you have a preference for any specific projection to make your map.

Otherwise, we´ll choose an appropriate and attractive method for you.

Map scale

Scale 1:400000 option scale 400000

Scale 1:250000option scale 250000

The topographical paper maps you take with you on your hikes are generally of a scale of 1:25000 or 1:50000. 

However, such maps are very large when you spread them out fully! If you order one of our maps, we can produce them for printing at (almost) any size you want but in most cases, they will generally be made for either A3 or A2 size posters.

Being much small than your topos, to be both visually pleasing and show the geographical features of your hike, your printed map will have a correspondingly smaller scale.

On the left, you can compare how much of the map would be visible in equal printing space at scales of 1:400000 and 1:250000

To get a further idea of what maps might look like at various scales, check out our example maps.

Geographic gridlines option geo gridlines

Our maps are both decorative and informative. If you want, we can overlay a grid so that the coordinates of your hiking area are visible.

These will normally be specified in geographic terms: latitude and longitude. But should you want  to use a different coordinate system, just let us know.

Feature labeling

More feature labels:option many feature labels

Fewer feature labels:option fewer feature labels

As you know from your topographic maps, geographic features are extensively labeled. Your topos, though, are quite large; there is a lot of space so that the labels can be conveniently placed. But when we produce a map for you at a smaller scale, you certainly don´t want the labels to "get in the way".

When we are making your map, we´ll use our experienced judgement to keep the most important feature labels and place these for best results. However, if you wish, you can tell us which specific types of labels you absolutely want to keep (e.g. all mountain peaks over a certain height, all populated places over a certain population, etc.) We´ll do our best to accomodate you.

Coast/waterline representation

"Clean" coastline:option clean coast

Tidal boundaries coastline:option tidal coast

Coastlines are seldom "fixed" geographical features. They can vary according to tides and/or seasonally.

If your hike happened to be near to, or touched coastlines, then their representation on the map can ignore these variations -- leading to a "cleaner" set of lines -- or can try to show them by including tidal areas.

So, whenever it´s relevant for you, you can ask us to include these tidal areas on your map


option din papersizes

option ansi papersizes

We can arrange to send you a printed map -- in addition to the PDF file you will receive from us.

Most commonly, maps are printed on A3 or A2 size paper, but we can customize according to your needs up to A0. You can also specify the size in non-metric units (e.g. inches). To give you an idea, the chart to the left indicates ISO-A/DIN  and ANSI measurements.

We have dozens of types of print paper weights and textures for you to choose from; if you decide to order a printed map from us, we will provide you with our list.