Anyone who loves travel has fond memories of places they've been. Scott Lussier, 45, of Bridgewater, has started a business, Passport Maps, putting a place to those memories for his clients, creating maps of destinations that include photos and corresponding legends to points on the maps. Lussier, a professional mapmaker, is also a geographic information systems instructor at Bridgewater State University, and a practitioner in residence in the Suffolk University physics department. We talked to him for this story.
Q. How did this come about?
A. In my senior year in college, I was abroad in London for three months and went all over Europe, catching the travel bug. Ten years later, I was making maps professionally, working for environmental firms. I started doing vacation-memory maps for friends and they liked it, but this was before we had the ability to sell on the Web like we do now. A couple of years ago, I ramped up the whole process.
Q . Who's buying these maps?
A. People who love to travel, and people buying as gifts for others. When a map is done and framed, it's a neat gift for the person who has everything, or for yourself, for a great trip you remember. And it's good for kids — they can remember and review where they've been, and it makes them realize that travel is doable.
Q . What do people want on them?
A. I put in places that mean something to them. Say they were in Hawaii and saw a rainbow somewhere, or someone famous, or ate at a great restaurant. I put those points on the map, with legends describing their memories, and photos. I try to draw it out from them, and ask, "What are you going to want to remember years from now?"
Q . How do people get them, and how much are they?
A. There's a form at www.passportmaps.com; they drop their points on a map and type in what they want in legends, and can add photos. The maps are usually 13 by 19 inches, on 51-pound, acid-free paper so they don't fade. The rate is $75 through Sept. 30, then it's $99.
Q . You still have the travel bug?
A. Absolutely. For years, I made maps of water and power lines, but it's more fun to map someone's ski trip to the Alps. I can live vicariously through them and see where I want to go.