Sunday, April 10, 2011

United States Lighthouses Map: A Work in Progress

When we acquired the lighthouse maps of Hartnett House, we knew the map that covered the entire United States was a big seller. But there was something about it that bugged us. The biggest area of the map was taken up by a vast swath of the U.S. that has few if any lighthouses. Moreover, the cartography had no information other than state names and lighthouse locations -- no place names or roads to give context.

We decided there must be a way to make the cartography more detailed and meaningful. At the same time, we felt that most of the illustrations were too small, and we frankly felt we could commission better illustrations than some of those on the old editions. So we set out to create a design with improved cartography and more compelling watercolors.

It took a lot more time than we anticipated. Part of the challenge was assembling the most up-to-date, most complete database of standing lighthouses. No single source we know of is complete. We also needed to set a standard for inclusion, as there are many privately built structures that may or may not be considered true lighthouses. Our standard is that it must be, or have been, a Coast Guard accepted aid to navigation. Creating more than a dozen individual maps of states or regions, and checking to see that all of the information is correct, was also a big job. We thank our cartographers for their hard work; that part is done.

Now, as we complete the text, which will include location descriptions and latitude/longitude of each lighthouse, along with first year of lighting, and current status (operating or not), we have nearly finalized the rough design to send to our very talented graphic designer. Here is a version, direct from our kitchen table to you:

Today, we believe we're on track to take delivery of printed maps in late May. We thank our customers for bearing with us, and we hope you'll agree the result was worth the wait.


  1. The Boca Grande, Florida lighthouse pictured on the Hackett House Map Publishers, copyright 2001 puzzle, is incorrect. In your update of the map and puzzle, please use the lovely lighthouse currently at Boca Grande, Florida. Thank you.

  2. The United States Lighthouses map was updated in 2011. Our Florida Lighthouses Illustrated Map & Guide has watercolors of Gasparilla Island (formerly labeled as Boca Grande) and Port Boca Grande.