High Tech, Low Beams
HARVEY specialises in publishing maps for outdoor recreation, created from original mapping.
In addition to the UK, HARVEY has produced mapping in Canada, Greenland, Ireland and Africa. HARVEY printed maps are available in shops, on the web and in digital form through partners and have been reproduced in numerous publications.
The company has a staff of 9 and is based in Doune, Perthshire.
HARVEY has received 13 awards for quality and innovation.
Foundation of the Company
The Company was founded in 1977 by Robin Harvey and Susan Harvey to provide a professional mapmaking service for the sport of orienteering. During the 1980s the Company established permanent premises in Doune, Perthshire. Twice enlarged, the premises now provide ample space for production, storage and administration.
HARVEY concentrates on making maps based on original mapping from new surveys from air photography. Early customers were orienteering clubs and major orienteering events. One of the first was the renowned Karrimor International Mountain Marathon (now the OMM). In 1977, for the first time, a special map was made for the event. The new map, of the Howgill Fells, still forms part of the HARVEY stable, albeit much revised.
1:40,000 was the scale chosen for this event - giving the advantages of compact map sheet size and the space to include the level of detail needed to give a clear picture of the terrain. Many HARVEY maps continue to be produced in this very suitable scale, including the now well established British Mountain Map series, made in cooperation with the British Mountaineering Council, and the 2016 innovation, the tiny Ultramap with its super-big ego.
To start with, maps were drawn with pen and ink. Then in the late 70s the chief cartographic technique was scribing and masking together with the photographic processing that this required.
1990 saw HARVEY producing their first digital maps, drawn on an Apple Mac. Given today's computer power, it seems inconceivable that it started on a Mac Plus with 1Mb RAM.
High tech, low beams
On a regular basis parties have come to Doune to see how the maps are made. One such visit resulted in an article in a student newspaper entitled "High tech, low beams". We're happy with that. It gives a flavour of the premises - a seventeenth century coaching inn, complete with a ring in the front wall to tie your horse, a millstone as part of the corridor floor (reputedly with wee Willie underneath), oak beams too hard to drive a nail into and a well under the drawing office - and it encapsulates our philosophy of applying modern technology with the care and precision of a craft industry.
A healthy enjoyment of our work with maps has its lighter side too. In 1981 the first map jigsaw puzzle, the famous MAZZLE, appeared. The record for completion is 6.5 hours, recorded on a flight to the USA - business class I presume!
Printing goes out of house
During the 80s all maps had been printed in house. By the early 90s, the decision was taken to outsource that phase of the work. After an emotional goodbye, Thor, the 3-ton Heidelberg printing press, was hoisted away onto a truck for transport to a new life in Africa, and the space was converted to a store to accommodate the growing stock of new titles.
In 1992 HARVEY won its first award, from Country Living magazine. This has been followed by numerous others, including the 1995 Golden Boot Award from the Outdoor Writers Guild, four prestigious Design Awards from the British Cartographic Society, and three from the International Map Trade Association. In 2006 the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild presented Sue and Robin Harvey with the Golden Eagle Award for outstanding lifetime contribution to the outdoors.
Superwalkers and Trail maps
Another major development was the decision to publish a series of maps at 1:25,000 scale, the Superwalker. Exceptionally clear, accurate, detailed, easy to read, and waterproof, these have become the core around which the HARVEY reputation has developed. A series of route maps of National Trails and Long Distance Paths followed. The first, West Highland Way, was published in 1996. Within a few years there were over 40 titles in the range.
2014 saw the Superwalker re-designed. Double-sided printing plus concertina folding gives immediate access to any part, and either side, of the sheet; the lightweight paper is tearproof, in addition to the customary waterproof.
Strategic alliances at home and abroad
The company has worked closely with partners abroad to produce maps of Canadian National Parks and hiking areas in Greenland.
2002 saw the production of 15 maps in cooperation with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. These included the Outdoor Atlas. It mimics a road atlas but at a larger scale, more detailed and printed on waterproof paper for use outdoors.
Over the years HARVEY maps have been reproduced in publications by Cicerone, Collins, Vertebrate Graphics, Beacon and many others.
In 2005 the British Mountain Map was created in cooperation between HARVEY, the British Mountaineering Council and the British Geological Survey. The inspiration for the series was BMC President Mark Vallance, and the first map, of the Lake District, immediately won the Outdoor Writers Guild Crystal Award. Extremely tough, completely waterproof and covering the whole of the central Lake District, it caused quite a stir when, at the launch in the presence of 1000 walking and climbing enthusiasts, Doug Scott's son was hoisted 3 feet off the ground standing on this 'magic carpet'. The point was made, and the map became instantly memorable.
A strong future
In 2017 the employees took over ownership of the Company through the formation of an Employee Ownership Trust. Sue remains a Director and Robin is a member of the Trust Board.
Robin Harvey received the MBE in 1977 for services to orienteering mapmaking following the World Orienteering Championships 1976 held in Aviemore, Scotland. Robin retired as a Director of the Company in 2017. He remains a Trustee.
In 2006 the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild presented Sue and Robin Harvey with the Golden Eagle Award for outstanding lifetime contribution to the outdoors.
Sue Harvey was UK National Orienteering Champion in 1971. She is an Honorary Life President of the International Orienteering Federation. In 2010 Sue was awarded the MBE for services to orienteering and to the local community.