An independent cartographic design firm dedicated to making exceptional maps of special places for people who love to explore.
Creating extraordinary outdoor recreation maps for outdoor enthusiasts is our passion, our mission and our reason for being.
Our intensive process blends the best aspects of old world map making with all the advantages of high tech data and leading edge digital design.
Every area we map is extraordinary - so we are committed to ensuring that our maps capture the beauty of these landscapes by making the most detailed, accurate and beautifully designed outdoor recreation maps available.
While making Lizard Maps we immerse ourselves in the real world landscapes and communities, gathering local knowledge, learning about the cool lizard spots and getting lost when necessary so our customers are less likely to get lost - unless that is their plan!
To bring our loyal customers the best map available, we gather information from all sources and carefully sort out what's true and what's not, selecting the information that our users, outdoor recreation enthusiasts of all types, are seeking. We focus on all types of outdoor recreation, not just one, so our maps show all the options in an area that are open for public access - by foot, bike, horse, motor, air or water.
After well over a thousand hours of careful research, design and selection, each Purple Lizard map is especially curated to the outdoor adventurer.
Beginners in the outdoor recreation community often ask us why we make paper maps? Real maps are the key to outstanding outdoor experience.
The reasons are too many to count, but here are just a few:
Planning outstanding outdoor recreation means understanding the whole picture of an area and seeing all your options - this requires a real map beyond the scope of a screen carefully curated for the outdoor user.
Online sources and maps not focused on the outdoor user often include loads of information that you don't need or want at the expense of omitting information you do need.
Each Lizard Map is designed to give you the big picture of all the outdoor recreation opportunities in the area. Our 2ft by 3ft maps include hydrography (stream, river and other water data), and detailed topography (including elevation models), so you can sit down, spread out, and make a real world plan that works. And folded up in your backpack, or back pocket, while you are out there you can easily make plan B, plan C, plan D too!
A paper map gives you the increasingly rare opportunity to unplug and be fully present in the experience when exploring outdoors.
We are proud to map lots of places where cell coverage (and battery recharging) isn't available which of course makes a paper map absolutely essential part of your outdoor adventure gear, but as any outdoor adventurer knows, even if online or digital resources are available over-reliance on screen based maps ties us to the world of devices and distraction that many of us are trying to escape. Like many things in life, showing up fully makes the experience all that more beautiful.
Because we make real maps and need all the ground-truthing and the unique level of detail and local knowledge that an exceptional map requires, our customers get an opportunity to really explore the forest and communities we map in a way that creates the opportunity to form a deeper connection to the place.
We care about the communities and the landscapes and and that care comes through in the maps and how we do our work, the details we provide, what is included, and the people involved in the process.
Purple Lizard also strongly believes in protecting and preserving public lands and beautiful natural environments.
We are a member of 1% for the Planet, and we work with environmental non-profits within the communities we map to support preservation efforts, trail building, river clean-up efforts, trailhead access improvement, interpretive media projects and other needs on a very local level.
Purple Lizard was born in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania, but we are now a Mid-Atlantic Regional mapping company - focused primarily on the exceptional outdoor recreation available in the Appalachian & Allegheny Mountain ranges. We currently publish maps of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Puerto Rico (check out our Rincon map for the backstory on that!) and are adding new states and titles every year.
Keep up with our latest map publications by joining our mailing list, or check back regularly on the "Where We Map" section of this website.
We are trail users, nature lovers, designers, artists, outdoor enthusiasts, wanderers, adventurers, meanderers and mountain bikers, history buffs, environmentalists, tree lovers, stream watchers, mountain lovers, and of course - map makers.
Purple Lizard Maps was founded in 1997 by award-winning cartographer, Michael Hermann, with a mission to push the boundaries of modern recreational map design and publish beautiful trail maps to help people make their own adventures.
Michael received his B.A. in Geography from Penn State with a focus on digital cartography and launched his career as a Digital Cartographic Specialist with Trails Illustrated/National Geographic Maps in Colorado.
Today, Michael is among the leading cartographers in the industry. He has received numerous design awards from the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping and the Cartography and Geographic Information Society.
Most recently, both the Ohiopyle and Loyalsock Lizard Maps received design awards from CaGIS, the Cartography and Geographic Information Society, which is the leading international network of developers, researchers and educators in the field of Cartography and GIScience.
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. That atlas received the Globe Book Award for Public Understanding of Geography and Best Atlas of 2016 from CaGIS. Michael 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.
Purple Lizard gets their hands in a few other custom cartographic design projects as well - they mapped out the first IMBA Epic Mountain Bike course in Pennsylvania in the 1990s; they designed the Maine Appalachian Trail Maps in 2005, and the Leadville 100 Race Series in Colorado in 2015.
Justine, Michael's wife, joined Purple Lizard in 2013 as the Director of Very Important Things.
Justine and Karma the Adventure Dog (who goes almost everywhere Purple Lizard goes and is responsible for maintaining a fun atmosphere) make sure the wheels roll smoothly. With a background in project development, marketing and law, Justine navigates the legal side of the Lizard business, helps spread the word about Purple Lizard to the wider world, and generally helps to keep new Purple Lizard Maps coming your way.
Purple Lizard Cartographic Contributors include a small group of some of the best cartographers, designers, and adventurers anywhere - all share our passion for exploring the outdoors. Lizard Contributors do lots of cool things in the world, and also work with us with us on special assignments to help bring Purple Lizard's Maps to life. Below are a few of our key contributors.
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!). Erin 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 and enjoys traveling around the country for trail races.
Wiggus came to this planet to save mankind, but after living here for 20 years he decided to play guitar, ride motorcycles, and pursue his lifelong dreams of mastering the art of digital design and eventually working with Purple Lizard Maps. In 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, he became a Lizard Contributor team and now works with Michael to help make Purple Lizard Maps even more beautiful.
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. Learn more about One Percent for the Planet here.
Have a question? Need customer service? Contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond as soon as possible.