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About

My name is Will Robertson and I created Basin and Range Mapping with the goal of making the most beautiful outdoor recreation wall map available. The name Basin and Range refers to the physical geography of the western United States. The term is the most iconic description of the Intermountain West, and is the largest of the five Geologic Provinces of the western U.S.

Outdoor recreation has been a lifelong activity for me. I learned to ski at Badger Pass Ski Area in Yosemite National Park when I was five years old. I was lucky enough to hike Half Dome when I was thirteen. I started mountain biking when I was sixteen. While getting a B.A. in Geography at the University of Colorado at Boulder, I hiked many 14ers and guided mountain biking tours on the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park. Outdoor recreation was the main influence for my move to Montana in 1992.

I started making maps in 1995, and have won several awards for cartographic design, including three Best Recreation / Travel Map awards, in the Cartography and Geographic Information Society’s annual Map Design Competition.

I wanted to take fine art cartography a bit further with Basin and Range, so in 2016, I started working on a wall map, wondering what the best outdoor recreation wall map should be. I think it should be personal. It should show your favorite trails and river put-ins. You should be able to clearly see where you went last weekend or where you’re going next weekend, or next summer. And the map needs to be beautiful enough to hang in a home as art.

After experimenting with the cartography over and over, after eleven different versions over three years, and after spending thousands of dollars on proofs, I was ready to print the map. There was just one thing left to do: go to Los Angeles to watch the map being printed at one of the largest commercial printers in the United States. Without being there in person (referred to as a “press check”) the colors might not come out exactly as expected. It’s what picky cartographers do.

Then a funny thing happened. After I got home with one copy of the map, I stared at it for days and realized it was not good enough. It needed more depth. I experimented with adding tree canopy cover. I had never seen a map which had both tree cover and hypsometric (changes in elevation) coloring, so I never thought it could be done correctly. It turns out it can be done (subtly) and the tree cover added the last necessary dimension. I called the print shop in Los Angeles, told them to throw away the maps which they had just printed, and then I went there to print the map. Again.

This is the map I need on the wall in my home. If you are a resident of South Central Montana, I hope this is the one you need too.

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