Meet Purple Lizard

Purple Lizard Maps is an independent cartographic design firm dedicated to making beautiful maps of special places for people who love the outdoors. We have been publishing our unique brand of maps since 1997.

The Mission

Creating extraordinary maps for people who love to explore the outdoors is our passion, our mission and our reason for being.

How We do What We Do

Many people ask if our maps are made from the internet, as if the internet is something we can pick up and work with. 

Purple Lizard is not an armchair map company. Our approach blends the best aspects of old world map making with all the advantages of high tech data. We immerse ourselves in the landscapes and communities we map. We gather information from all sources and sort out what's true and what's not, carefully selecting the information that our users, outdoor recreation enthusiasts of all types, are seeking. The result is a highly curated map tailored to outdoor adventure, and one we consider to be the best map we can make. 

Check out this short video on our process by Dirt Rag Magazine featuring our founder and lead cartographer Michael Hermann and Trail Guru Dave Gantz.
Backyard and Beyond: Purple Lizard Maps from Dirt Rag Magazine on Vimeo.

 

Our immersive approach allows us to create maps that are exceptionally curated and beautifully designed, offering users the perfect level and type of detail for their outdoor adventures. This approach also allows us to connect with and learn from the people living and working in the communities we map. We don't focus on any single type of outdoor 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 of our mapmaking process: The most detailed and beautifully designed outdoor recreation map ever produced of that region.

Our commitment to ground-truthing and real-world map making allows our customers to really explore the forest and communities we map in a way that creates a connection to the place. We care about the communities and the landscapes. Purple Lizard 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.

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. 

Where We Map

Purple Lizard was born in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania, but has grown a lot since then. We publish maps of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Puerto Rico. 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. 

Purple Lizard Lead Cartographer and Founder Michael Hermann

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.

Purple Lizard Maps was founded in 1997 by award-winning cartographer, Michael Hermann, with a mission to make beautiful recreational maps so people could make their own adventures in the large swaths of public land around them.

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. 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 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 in Colorado.

Director of Very Important Things Justine Andronici & Karma the Adventure Dog

Purple Lizard's Adventure Dog and Director of Very Important Things

 

Justine, Michael's wife, joined Purple Lizard in 2013 as the Director of Very Important Things. With a background in public relations, project development, marketing and law, Justine navigates the legal side of the Lizard business, manages Purple Lizard's marketing and generally helps to keep new Purple Lizard Maps coming your way. 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 to publish new Purple Lizard Maps of special places every season.  

Trail Guru Dave Gantz 

Dave Gantz: Purple Lizard Maps Trail Guru

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. Born and raised in Lancaster County, he spent his youth canoeing, fishing, mountain biking, and camping. After shattering his tibia and fibula playing NCAA soccer, he decided to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail as the final stage of his rehab. As an adult, Gantz has focused his time on long distance hiking, cycling, and running. Dave has hiked over 15,000 miles in 20 states! In addition to the AT, Dave has completed multiple thru hikes on long distance trails throughout the country and 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, a Ridgerunner for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and a buyer and manager at Appalachian Outdoors, one of Central PA’s leading outfitters.

Lizard Contributors 

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.

Erin Greb Cartographer

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 and enjoys traveling 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.

Carly Dreibelbis Photographer

Community Partners

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. 

1% For the Planet: Purple Lizard Maps

Have a question? Need customer service? Contact us via email at info@purplelizard.com and we will respond as soon as possible.