MapWheel: a toposcope customised for you!
MapWheel: a toposcope customised for you!
A MapWheel is a beautiful way to celebrate special places and people in your world. The perfect answer to "where on earth".
A MapWheel is a beautiful way to celebrate special places and people in your world. The perfect answer to "where on earth". Read more
About this project
Your choice of Anodised Aluminium, Stainless Steel or Timber.
We've only just finished making the prototypes for these anodised aluminium MapWheels and we couldn't be happier with the result. The recessed profile and the brilliant white marking set against the beautifully vivid colours we've chosen (is black a colour?) will make a stunning statement in any setting.
Stainless steel is our toughest material, both to work with and in terms of its durability in outdoor situations. It takes special preparation and the longest run time on the laser. The result though is a MapWheel with rugged good looks that's dependable and in it's element when exposed..... to the elements.
We love the warmth of timber and it was actually the first material we tackled as we wanted to take the biggest leap away from traditional toposcopes and define a completely new product. You wouldn't believe the hours of tweaking that was required but after hundred's of trials and furrowed brows that only botox could fix, we think we've nailed it.
Designed by you and created by us here in Sydney, a MapWheel is a beautifully crafted and personalised toposcope to celebrate important people and places in your world.
A MapWheel is a new, functional and attractive piece of home decor intended to trigger fond memories, provoke conversations and celebrate locations that have significance to you.
MapWheel was born out of Russell's curiosity and eventual frustration of not knowing the direction to places his home looks out on because they're hidden by the vast expanse of bushland in the Blue Mountains National Park west of Sydney. There are a number of lookouts in the area that have toposcopes (see photo of Anvil Rock below) to point-out landscape features in the area so one day Russell thought it would be great to have one for his home. His first toposcope (from then on named a MapWheel) was hand drawn on a piece of cardboard and then covered with a clear plastic film so it could take pride of place on their outdoor dinning table. A web-app, a laser engraver and some really nice materials later and MapWheel was born. You will see in the photo further down that Russell has since upgraded to a timber MapWheel engraved in beautiful Queensland Maple.
Jesse joined the project last year and together they have worked to take it from concept stage to prototyping and now right through to manufacturing.
The real revelation was the idea that adding personally significant locations could make a MapWheel a very sentimental and nostalgic piece to display in the home. Friends and loved-ones don't feel so far away when you know the exact direction and distance to them. Your MapWheel might even help to settle a long-fought argument over the true direction to a particular location....hopefully in your favour! Simply knowing North, South, East and West for your place will be interesting but your MapWheel will mean so much more with all your personal locations.
So we want to see a world where toposcopes are no longer confined to isolated mountain tops. MapWheels are engaging and meant to be engaged with so their home should be anywhere people naturally gather and stories are told. In your home on a coffee table or on an outdoor dinning table is perfect or if you do have a private jetty, they do look rather smart mounted on a pylon. However, also think about offices, cafes, pubs, clubs and hotels. Regardless, we give a lifetime guarantee on a MapWheel being a conversation starter in any setting.
How it works
Google Maps is the source of all the information we need to create your MapWheel. We are able to access this data due to Google's application programming interface (API).
There are numerous map projection models that can be used to determine the angular displacement of a POI relative to true north. We use Azimuthal (aka Zenithal) equidistant map projection, the main characteristic being that a straight line from the central point on a map to any other point gives the shortest distance between the two points. This type of projection is mainly used for plotting direction and distance from a map's central point and is therefore the main type of projection used to produce toposcopes. So with a MapWheel, you can make a beeline, as the crow flies to your beloved places!
We also display magnetic north (MN) on your MapWheel if MN for your home location is +/- 5degrees of true north. This can be nice to know but is also useful if you want to use a lensatic compass to orient your MapWheel rather than the compass app on your phone.
Customised, personalised & unique
We have developed a design process that's fun and allows you to create something that is highly customised and truly personal. Every MapWheel is a unique piece which is what makes them so special. Your inspiration + our love = your MapWheel.
So using our application at www.mapwheel.com you choose the home location, all the points of interest, the material, the border, the colour, the font and even a personal message. You don't need to design your MapWheel until the campaign ends but have a play just for fun. You can save it and work on it over time so it's ready for us to produce during the reward fulfilment period.
Add your image or logo
With all of our rewards we are providing you with the option to add a simple image or logo to the centre ring of your MapWheel (replacing the elevation, latitude and longitude) for $10! If the logo or image is quite rectangular in the space it takes, we may be able to keep the elevation detail. So be sure to add $10 to your pledge if you want this option.
We'll be in touch with you at the end of the campaign to get your image file. It needs to be a .png or .jpg file, black only (no grey-scale) with a transparent or white background. After we've pasted the image, we'll ask you to check the completed design before we produce it.
The perfect gift
We've been selling MapWheel's in a small way for a few months now while we've been perfecting the product. We had always envisaged that a MapWheel would make a very personal gift but we have been taken by surprise how popular gifting a MapWheel actually is. Following is a list of some of the personal messages that have been included on MapWheels so far:
- Traveling the world and life together...
- Jennifer Logan: 40 Years of Adventure
- For all our adventures past and yet to come....
- From all your colleagues at McKinsleys 2015
- To another 6 years of wedded wanderings!
- For Dad, Never stop travelling xoxo
- Kent & Lisa - 20 Years of Adventures
- Our Past, Present & Future Adventures
- The world's a better place thanks to you
- Kirsten, you are the centre of my world
- Happy 50th Birthday Glen "The Rodgers"
- The world according to Ronnie
- Welcome to "Jack's Camp".
So think of someone special in your life that would love a MapWheel; delivered to you in plenty of time for Christmas.
The reverse side of your MapWheel will have 5 small self-adhesive silicone rubber feet which provide some aesthetic elevation to the MapWheel and protects whatever piece of furniture you chose to position your MapWheel. For a permanent fixing, simply remove the rubber feet and glue down with a construction adhesive or heaven forbid it, drill some counter-sunk holes and screw it.
Your MapWheel will be packed in a soft cotton draw-string bag which will protect your MapWheel during transit and really completes the presentation, particularly if you chose to gift your MapWheel.
MapWheel for business
MapWheel's on cafe and restaurant tables make a great conversation starter and help the visitor to know what's around them if they are visiting the area for the first time. In this way, MapWheel's are particularly helpful in tourist locations. Our local tourist information centre in Glenbrook has three of them glued down to their outdoor tables so visitors can use them to plan their day as they sit down with their first coffee of the day.
They make a great feature piece on a business reception desk or boardroom table. They're also an attractive and informative piece for resort rooms, hotel suites and B&B's....let your guests know what's around them. Or how about a unique and personal gift for a special client?
We've been conservative in our estimation of reward fulfilment. We're really comfortable with our processes and as the images attest, we're producing a high quality product. We should have all the timber and stainless steel rewards shipped by October. The anodised aluminium MapWheels will take a bit longer due to the new tooling that has to be made first. These rewards should be fulfilled during November.
We have our production plans in place to be able to handle large quantities, even considering every MapWheel is a unique piece. We may have to concede a little if we have Coolest cooleresque success but the first 2000 MapWheels will be a piece of cake, the next 1000 a walk in the park and after that we'll have to put skates on. The worst case is we have to buy even more laser equipment but that's Ok because smok'n more material just equals more fun!
Help us make this happen
We've come along way and we're now ready to make this thing happen. We also know that backers are the lifeblood of any Kickstarter project, so it would mean the world to us if you could share our campaign to your friends, family and networks. We've even made it nice and easy, all you have to do is click on the links below.
Where to find more of us
Risks and challenges
We've made a considerable effort to ensure that what we've conceived can actually be manufactured and shipped on-time. We've already sold a limited number of timber and stainless steel MapWheels, mainly to friends and family. We had some prototypes of the anodised aluminium disks made and as you can see in the video and photos, they engrave beautifully!
We're confident we can meet our delivery schedule, however the unexpected can happen so there's a chance we could run late. The anodised aluminium prototype disks were spun on a metal lathe. For full scale-production we'll having tooling made so the blanks can be made by cold-extrusion. The CAD designs are already done and we've built-in the time required to get this work done, never-the-less delays are possible.
Our website was originally hosted on a shared server which did cause some issues during times of heavy traffic. We recently moved over to a virtual private server (VPS) so we're confident we can manage, even a break-out success like Pebble watch or the Coolest cooler!
The create-a-mapwheel web-app uses Google Maps API for the map view and for all the data required to generate the coordinate, direction, distance and elevation detail. It's not uncommon for Google to change permissions or the way we need to access the data so there's always a possibility our developers will need to do some fast coding to rectify any changes like this. The risk of a delay in this regard can be considered low.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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