Off The Map with offthemaps!

A love for mountain biking, the outdoors, and cartography join in harmony to create offthemaps, one of the newest publishers in the Avenza Map Store.

Patrick Stephens is the creator of offthemaps, a mapping company that focuses on outdoor recreation maps, hiking maps, and cycling maps.

Growing up in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, Patrick is a veteran on the trails. Working as a mechanic in a local bike shop and riding the trails since he was a teen, sharing the joy of the great outdoors in the area came naturally.

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“I like connecting people to the outdoors. Maps are like books that help people understand the world around them.”

After studying geography and GIS at Pennsylvania State University, Patrick has been working in GIS and cartography for the last 5 years. Through a university thesis focusing on paper maps in the modern world, Patrick was introduced to Avenza Maps. “I see Avenza Maps as the bridge between paper and digital,” says Patrick. “Digital maps are important because they don’t have to be printed, and everyone has a smartphone, which means easy access to digital maps.”

Earlier this year, an interested user of his paper map reached out to Patrick to see if he offered a digital version available in Avenza Maps. From there, offthemaps joined the Avenza Map Store. “Avenza adds another element to the map-game by streamlining the digital presence of maps.”

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Not only does Patrick create maps, but he also builds connections with his users. With a presence on YouTube in the mountain biking community, a rider from Virginia saw his video about mountain biking in Jim Thorpe and purchased the Jim Thorpe Adventure Map from offthemaps. The user then used the map to ride the trail and beat Patrick’s fastest time on the trail and posted it on Strava. “Seeing people outside on the trail on a beautiful day using a map I’ve made is the best feeling I could ask for.” Patrick took back the fastest time on this brutal trail climb, The Wagon Road, in June 2021. “I was amazed to see this connection between YouTube, the cycling community on Strava, and my own trail map!”

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Future goals for offthemaps include continuing to map the Lehigh Valley and working with mountain biking associations to create maps for their trails.

Heading to the Jim Thorpe area, or curious about the maps? You can find the Jim Thorpe Adventure maps by offthemaps in the Avenza Map Store here, and the offthemaps website here!