Who is behind this project?
Hi, I'm Jonathan Lurie, nice to meet you! I was born near Bordeaux, France, about 33 years ago and I now live in Montreal, Canada. Even though making maps is not my full-time job, I've always had an interest in cartography and this grew, even more, when I started my engineering job in remote-sensing few years ago. Now, I work in brain imaging at the Montreal Neurological Institute and I continue to explore all the cartographic environment and tools and look more and more into the theory and math involved in cartography.
I also think a map is not only a practical tool but also a way to revive some memories of previous trips, in other words, to travel in space and in time. What I try to do with The Map Crafter is to provide accurate maps that contain the right amount of detail so that you feel like you are traveling when you are looking at it.
What is The Map Crafter?
Years before this project was called The Map Crafter, or even before it was an actual project, I was looking for a Christmas gift for my mom's husband and I thought it would be nicer if it was something that I would craft by myself. The same year, they have been visiting New York City and have totally fallen in love with the city. I remember they wouldn't stop telling about how the streets are so large, the buildings so high, the people so nice, and also about the places they've visited, the food trucks they were eating at and so on.
At the time, I was already into maps and the mapping ecosystem on the web was growing fast, especially thanks to OpenStreetMap, its community and open source developers who were creating new tools to digest all this data. I remember telling myself «you're a developer, you can use those tools, and even create your own!», and so I did! It was not trivial but before Christmas I could create my first detailed map of Manhattan using OpenStreetMap's data, my own B&W styling and printed on a 50x70cm poster!
Having to make a map as a gift was more or less a pretext to just make a map because I sort of wanted to do it anyway. I needed to see if I could do it and how I could do it. Shortly after offering the Manhattan map to my mom's husband, I quickly collected some positive feedback by their friends passing by and I didn't need more than that to look at what other cities I could do! Some trials and a lot of mistakes later, I was finally satisfied with the design I could create and decided to open an online store to sell some of them, and here we are!