It’s that time again. On the 2020 map update research trip we identified 327 changes including 21 road segments that have been paved, 67 name changes, 113 places closed down, 41 new lodgings and many more. There were also 3 errors in the previous edition and we’ve decided to add a cool new shaded relief mini-map showing Costa Rica’s mountain ranges and volcanoes.
After we circumnavigate and crisscross Costa Rica identifying the changes we update the graphics files and send them to the printer for pre-flight which separates out colors, adds registration marks and many other processing steps to produce a digital representation of the final product. We check it carefully…very carefully because when we click the “approved” button it launches production of half a million dollars in maps – actually only $439,000.00 plus shipping, but close enough.
The Point of No Return
Clicking is just plain scary. As a small business that makes one product when all our inventory is on the line my mouse finger hesitates.
Sometimes we waiver for a few days or a week after we know we’re ready, not finding anything more than a typo or missing accent on a “Volcán,” but this year we sold out early and have to hustle to get the next edition out. We clicked in under a day after the files were uploaded and processed.
Mistakes Were Made
Hundreds of hours go into the research (called “ground truthing”) that results in updates, improvements (and we’ll admit even a few corrections) and we study the results for the slightest errors until our eyes cross. It doesn’t always go perfectly.
Back in 2010 Costa Rica’s outgoing president announced that he would officially open the new Caldera Highway 27 from San Jose to the beaches a year ahead of schedule as his parting gift to the Costa Rican people.
We had the GIS data (we rode our bikes along the road while it was under construction over the years) but the new edition of the map that was already being printed showed the road as “under construction, opening 2011”.
For the next year we kept our hands busy while watching TV or talking on the phone by covering twenty thousand under construction comments with tiny little stickers saying “Now open – Toll ¢940”.
Then big sections of the road slid into the ravine and it was closed again…
Now we tell people to check Waze for current conditions ;-)