I need a map, a really big map
February 13, 2012 10:56 AM   Subscribe

I need a map. A really big map.

I'm looking for a map of the great state of Minnesota. Ideally it would be about five feet tall, would be a political map (cities and roads and stuff) but would also include contours and other geological features - not just a highway map. It would show parklands and rivers. It would be made out of plain old paper, not the fancy super-thick paper or laminated paper.

This is an example of the kind of map I am looking for. Only with more detail, because it would be a REALLY BIG MAP.

The closest thing I have been able to find has been a pull-down map of Minnesota, not unlike the ones that used to hover over the blackboard in my third-grade classroom. Although they're the right size, I am not interested in any of the 'extra stuff' (the pull-down mechanism, the super-thick paper, the hanging mechanism).

I have also perused the USGS website, only to find more detail than I am looking for.

Where does one go to find a really big map? I am shopping online, and have accepted the fact that it might not be cheap to send a really big map through the mail.
posted by Elly Vortex to Shopping (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Here is a local cartography firm that makes large maps of Minnesota. They do custom work as well.
posted by look busy at 10:58 AM on February 13, 2012

Try googling Raven Maps. If they're still in business they make very nice, big maps. Not sure if they're big enough for you.
posted by jayder at 11:00 AM on February 13, 2012

Not quite big enough, but this Raven map of Minnesota is 41x49 inches. Their maps are gorgeous.
posted by sciencegeek at 11:01 AM on February 13, 2012

Also, if you can find a high resolution image of what you want, you can get a print shop to print it for you at the size you want.
posted by sciencegeek at 11:03 AM on February 13, 2012

I've ordered maps from maps.com - and they have a number of big maps of Minnesota - not cheap for what you want but big enough! I miss Borders - they used to have a great selection of maps in stock. :-(
posted by leslies at 11:17 AM on February 13, 2012

By too much detail, do you mean the maps have too much detail, or that the website sucks? USGS has a few different resolutions and one might suit your needs better than the rest.
posted by zvs at 11:29 AM on February 13, 2012

Just FYI, if you get the Raven map, get the laminated one, which is far cheaper to frame. We just spent an ungodly sum framing our giant, beautiful Raven map of California.
posted by rockindata at 11:51 AM on February 13, 2012

I run a blog called, uh... the Big Map Blog.

Barring some huge stroke of luck, you're going to have the best and most economical results -- as others have mentioned -- by finding a large (pixel dimensions) map file and printing it off at a local print shop.

Regarding the specifics, you'll have to be flexible with some of the conditions you state. For example, state-level maps are unlikely to show relief through contours (...though I bet Florida could).

While I have a bunch of Minnesota maps, I don't have any (published) maps that meet your qualifications. Let's find you a good map.

You can use a vector source and not care about resolution, but if you don't go that route, you want to keep the pixel dimensions within some bounds. You can go less than 120dpi, but not much less, 4' = 48" × 120 = 5,760px in the large dimension, more or less.

Two sources for map files that large spring to mind: David Rumsey and LOC. I did a search and came up with (there are many more; poke around):



If you don't want to have to worry about image resolution, you can download a vector map; this will print well at whichever size you'd like, up to and exceeding barn-door size.

Here's a relevant google search to get you started, if you take that tack.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 2:51 PM on February 13, 2012 [8 favorites]

They're not as pretty as others, but the USGS State Maps are pretty big (67" x 52"), and a steal at 9 bucks (plain paper). Click the picture on that page and you get a (free) fairly high-res PDF to play around with.
posted by xedrik at 8:04 PM on February 13, 2012

Not really the layout you posted, but you could get a ton of 7- and 15-minute topo maps and tile them out to cover an entire wall.
posted by xedrik at 8:07 PM on February 13, 2012

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