Frequently asked questions

What are MapWheels made from?

MapWheels are made from marine grade stainless steel and sustainably sourced furniture grade timber veneered plywoods. The choices include Forest Red Gum, Queensland Maple, Silver Beech and Bamboo. The image you create during the design process is engraved into the steel or timber surface using a state-of-the-art laser engraving machine.

After engraving the timber surface we spray 2 coats of lacquer and finish by polishing with an orange oil based furniture oil to bring out the beautiful timber colours and grains and to seal and protect the timber. The finished product is both beautiful and durable. We recommend the occasional application of furniture oil with a soft cloth to keep your MapWheel looking it's best.

If you want to position your MapWheel outdoors where it will be exposed to the weather, we strongly recommend the stainless steel option. It is a marine grade stainless steel so it will continue to look good even in coastal areas where it will be exposed to salt air. An occasional wipe-over with a stainless steel polish will keep it looking good.

How much do they cost?

  • Timber MapWheels are available in one size only: 210mm (approx. 8 1/4 inches) in diameter & 8mm (approx. 5/16 inches) thick.
    All timber MapWheels are $88.00 Australian Dollars (approx. USD62.00) + Shipping which varies by destination country.

  • Stainless Steel MapWheels are available in 2 sizes:
    210mm (approx. 8 1/4 inches) in diameter and 1.5mm thick @ $99.00 Australian Dollars (approx. USD70.00) + Shipping which varies by destination country.
    250mm (9 27/32 inches) in diameter and 2.00mm thick @ $139.00 Australian Dollars (approx. USD98.00) + Shipping which varies by destination country.

NOTE: Australian Orders attract an additional 10% Goods & Services Tax (GST)

On the reverse side we stick 5 silicone rubber feet (approx. 3mm thick) which provides protection to your furniture and raises the MapWheel to give the appearance of greater depth.

What if I don't have many POI's?

Part of the fun is working out what locations you can add to fill out your MapWheel so there's no major gaps between pointers. Going to the world map view is a good way to do this. Look for places in between the existing red pins. Remember the map on screen is a 2 dimensional interpretation of the globe so it can be deceiving. Try to think of places that you'd be interested to know where they are in relation to your place.

If you live on the coast it's a great idea to think about what's out there beyond that great expanse of open water. For example, if you live on the east coast of Australia, how cool would it be to know where Auckland is or what about Norfolk Island, Lord Howe Island, Fiji, Hawaii, New Caledonia, etc, etc. I for example really wanted to know the direction and distance to Cape Horn in Chile because I've always been interested in the lost ship stories of the Bermuda Triangle so it's on my MapWheel.

The same goes for considering inland locations; you might never have been to Uluru (Ayers Rock) but wouldn't it just be interesting to know where it is in relation to your place. If I lived in Las Vegas, I'd like to know how far Hoover Dam is and The Grand Canyon and what about Gracelands in memorial of the bloke that wrote that brilliant song about my city. The point is, get creative and have some fun with want an interesting MapWheel not a sterile one.

How is magnetic north calculated? 

Did you know that a compass doesn't always point to north? In fact, there are only a few locations on earth where it points exactly to the True (geographic) North. The direction to which a compass needle points is known as Magnetic North and the angle between Magnetic North and True North direction is called "magnetic declination". For example, the magnetic declination for Sydney is approximately 12.4 degrees east of true north. There are places on earth where magnetic declination is in excess of 30 degrees. 

When you enter the home location for your MapWheel, our MapWheel generator accesses a data base to determine the magnetic declination for your location so we can put a Magnetic North (MN) pointer alongside the North pointer on your MapWheel. If Magnetic North is less than 5 degrees from True North we won't display a MN pointer.

Position your MapWheel by lining up the needle of a compass with MN on the MapWheel. If there is no MN on your MapWheel then simply line-up the compass needle with N. If using the compass on a smartphone, check the settings to see if it is set to show True North or Magnetic North. If it's set for True North then line-up the pointer with N on the MapWheel. 

What map projection system is used?

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. 

Where do I position my MapWheel?

We believe tables make a perfect platform to display your MapWheel. Consider your outdoor table, coffee table, dining table, cafe table, office desk, etc, etc. Makes for a great conversation starter!

You accurately position your MapWheel with the use of a compass (see the FAQ above for more information about using a compass).

How do the gift certificates work?

A MapWheel makes a fantastic personalised gift but you might like to let the recipient have all the fun of designing their MapWheel. A gift certificate is a great option that still enables personalisation. You can add a personal message to the gift certificate plus a short phrase to be included on the outer ring of the MapWheel itself. For example "Happy 30th Birthday Sugarbop". It's also a good option when you don't know enough about the recipient and the places that might be special to them.

You will receive the gift certificate by email and then you can either forward it to the recipient or print it and give it in person. 

Are there any locations I can't choose?

Your MapWheel can include any location on earth. If your point of interest isn't recognised by Google Maps using the search function, you can use the World Map view to navigate to the exact place on the map and click on it. Then you'll be asked to label the pointer.

The only limitation is that if 2 of your points of interest have a bearing that is less than 7° from each other then you can only choose one of them. If this wasn't the case then pointers would run through the labels of other pointers. 

Are there other material options?

Yes, we're also making MapWheels for outdoor applications in an acrylic material by Rowmark called "Textures". It is a very hard wearing, scratch resistant, UV stable material with many colour options as shown in the image below. Let us know if you have interest and we'll let you know how to choose one of these options. 

create your own