VashonMap.com

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I love interactive maps.  And I love old-fashioned, hand-drawn treasure maps.  When I moved to Vashon Island, WA, in the fall of 2003, I realized that this charming community was a good candidate for me to try out an idea for a homegrown, locally-illustrated, comprehensive map directory for the web. 

 

  

 

 

So in the spring of 2004, I put out a call to the local artists to see if I could find someone to illustrate the map in an affectionate, childrens'-story-book style.  I found 22-year-old Annie Brule (click here to go to her web site) who grew up on the island.  For a $150 deposit, she drew three drawings for me, so I could take the concept around to the merchant community and find whether I could get them to sponsor the development of the site.  I took Annie's drawings, scanned them, and made a physical book that I could take around and show to the merchants of downtown Vashon.  The merchants were overjoyed.  A lot of them already knew and loved Annie; that helped a lot.  My initial goal was to get 25 of the approximately 100 downtown merchants on board.  But 65 of them signed up! 

 

With just a marked-up set of Annie's drawings and some verbal explanation of our plans, I raised $5000 from the merchants.  With these funds I paid Annie the rest of her fee, and hired a programmer to turn it all into a web site. 

 

It was a delightful project, a sweet combination of art and technology, and the whole island seemed to appreciate it.  We received lots of fan mail.  The local paper did a big front page feature on it.  It became a popular site almost immediately. 

 

I sold VashonMap.com to the Sallen Group, a local rival, in 2007.  VashonMap.com has since been significantly altered. The hand-drawn maps are still on the site, but they are no longer interactive. 

 

 

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