StockMaps.com Digital Map Site Launched
First, it's worth noting that GeoNova Publishing, the company behind this initiative, lays claim to being the premier U.S. supplier of custom mapping content and cartographic services, so designers can have some confidence in the depth and quality of the resulting products. This is also reflected in the provision of search assistance, free research and custom map development services.
There are currently thousands of maps available on the site, with visitors able to use a Flash-based search process dubbed GeoSearch to find ones matching a range of criteria. It's also possible to browse collections with such themes as Royalty Free U.S. National Parks or Asia Continent, and receive notification via RSS when these are updated. Maps are provide in editable Adobe Illustrator EPS and PDF formats as well JPG, a format not usually available. And while stock maps typically come with a royalty-free license, it's primarily the more basic StockMaps.com items that are available this way, with the most detailed maps requiring a more expensive and complex rights-managed license. It will be interesting to see how this approach fares, in contrast with the more common royalty-free license, which designers have increasingly come to expect.