Purple Lizard Maps is an independent cartographic design firm dedicated to making beautiful maps of beautiful places. Purple Lizard makes maps for people who want to get the most out of their recreation. Purple Lizard has been publishing its own unique brand of maps since 1997.
Creating amazing maps for people who love to explore is our passion, our mission and our reason for being.
We immerse ourselves in the landscapes and communities we map, which allows us to connect with the people and culture on a personal level. We don't focus on any single type of recreation, so our maps show all the options in an area that are open for public access by foot, bike, horse, motor, air or water. The end result is the most detailed map ever produced of that region. This allows our customers to really explore the forest in a way that they can make a connection to the place. It also allows us to meet the locals and understand the issues the communities face regarding access to trails and recreation. We are a member of 1% for the Planet, and we work with local environmental non-profits in the communities we map to give back and support trail building, river clean-up efforts, trailhead access improvement, interpretive media projects and other needs on a very local level. We are trail users, backpackers, mountain bikers, history buffs, environmentalists and map makers. We are Purple Lizard, and we are not like any map company you've ever met. We’ll see you out there.
Purple Lizard Maps was founded in 1997 by award-winning cartographer, Michael Hermann, with a mission to make beautiful recreational maps to help people make their own adventures in the large swaths of public land around them.
Michael's passion for mapping was born in the mountains of central Pennsylvania, the deserts of Arizona, the mountains of Colorado and Utah and many points in between. Michael moved around a lot, and spent most of his time exploring the hills searching out places to do remote hikes, climb on big rocks, backcountry snowboard, launch kayaks, ride mountain bikes and motorcycles and put together expedition drives in 4wd vehicles. This made him the go-to guide for a variety of adventures in a variety of states.
Michael began contributing to guidebooks and magazines in the 1980s, which asked for maps that he would draw by hand. In 1992 he decided a formal education in cartography would greatly help his mapmaking, and he became one of the first digital cartographers in America.
Michael received his B.A. in Geography from Penn State in 1995 and launched his cartographic career as a Digital Cartographic Specialist with Trails Illustrated/National Geographic Maps in Colorado.
Now Michael is among the leading cartographers working today. He has received numerous design awards from the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping and the Cartography and Geographic Information Society. In addition to his work with Purple Lizard, Michael served as the lead cartographer with the Canadian-American Center at the University of Maine where he led the development of the award winning Historic Atlas of Maine. He designed the campus maps for Penn State University; is a past president of NACIS (North American Cartography and Information Society) and past president of the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education at the University of Southern Maine. In Pennsylvania he has served on the Board of the Lower Rail Trail and the Mount Nittany Conservancy. Purple Lizard gets their hands in a few other projects as well - they mapped out the first IMBA Epic Mountain Bike course in Pennsylvania in the 1990s; they design and produce the Appalachian Trail Maps for the Maine Appalachian Trail Club, and they produce the maps for the Leadville 100 Race Series and the TranSylvania Epic.
Michael's wife Justine joined Purple Lizard in 2013 as Purple Lizard's Director of Very Important Things. With a background in marketing and law, Justine navigates the legal side of the Lizard business and manages outreach & marketing. She and Karma the Adventure Dog make sure the wheels roll smoothly to publish new Purple Lizard Maps of special places every season.
Dave Gantz wears many hats (and backpacks) to bring more Purple Lizard Maps your way every day. He is responsible for coordinating map recon for new titles and also serves our rapidly growing Lizard Map dealer network.
Dave has been steeped in outdoor recreation from childhood. He was born and raised in Lancaster County and spent his youth canoeing, fishing, mountain biking, and camping. In college, after shattering his tibia and fibula playing soccer, he decided to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail as the final stage of his rehab. As an adult, Gantz has focused his rec time on long distance hiking and trail running. Dave has hiked over 13,000 miles in 20 states! In addition to the AT, Dave has completed multiple thru hikes on long distance trails throughout the country including almost all of the backpacking trails in Pennsylvania.
Dave’s main passion and his goal in his work are to introduce and reconnect people with the natural world. Before joining Purple Lizard as Trail Guru, Dave worked as a hiking guide and a guidebook author, for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy as a Ridgerunner, and for Appalachian Outdoors, one of Central PA’s leading outfitters.
Purple Lizard Cartographic Contributors include a small group of some of the best cartographers and adventurers anywhere who share our passion for exploring the outdoors. Below is a bit of info about some of our regular contributors who work with us on special assignments to help bring Purple Lizard's Maps to life.
Erin Greb of Erin Greb Cartography has always had a close connection to the outdoors and exploring. Growing up with acres of woods in her backyard in western Maryland and driving cross-country every year with her family on vacations, maps always played an important part in her life.
As a second year art major who loved to hike in the mountains near Penn State, the lightbulb went off one day that she should transfer into Geography (’99) and learn to make maps like the ones she used in the woods (including the original Rothrock Purple Lizard map!). She then earned her MA in Geography at CU Boulder (’02) where she continued to hike and mountain bike in the foothills and Rocky Mountains. Now she continues to explore and design maps in Bucks County where she lives, and enjoys traveling back to Central PA and around the country for trail races.
Intrepid Lizard Photography Contributor Carly Driebelbis brings a camera along for all her outdoor adventures and provides Purple Lizard with many of the fantastic pics you find on our website and Lizard social media sites.
Check out more of Carly's work Carly Dreibelbis Photography & Design.
Purple Lizard could not do what we do without the help and support of so many of you: the folks on the ground in the communities we map who help us make sure we have up to date and accurate information. We work closely with members of the community, land managers and recreational user groups in the communities we map. We are committed to doing our part to help protect public lands and the special places we map as proud partners with local environmental organizations and community groups. We are a proud member of 1% For The Planet and your purchases through Purple Lizard support trail building and land acquisition efforts with our partners.
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