Marty Schnure is a visual storyteller and conservationist. She founded Maps for Good with Ross Donihue in 2012 with the mission of creating maps and media to promote conservation initiatives and connect people with wild places. Her work with Maps for Good has taken her to wildlands around the world, some highlights being mapping the future Patagonia National Park in southern Chile, creating science communication stories on the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge, mapping a Bellbird corridor in Costa Rica, and developing interactive maps of the then-proposed Bears Ears National Monument. She currently works for The Wilderness Society, where she leads cartographic design and map-based storytelling for public lands conservation and advocacy nationwide.

Though now incurably in love with the west, Marty’s roots lie in New England, where she grew up on the coast of Massachusetts and earned a B.A. in Geography from Middlebury College in Vermont. Before founding Maps for Good, Marty got her start in cartography at National Geographic Maps and National Geographic Magazine. She stays involved with the Society as a National Geographic Explorer with the Expeditions Council, which has funded multiple Maps for Good projects. She lives in Seattle.

Interview on the Dirtbag Diaries

Maps. We’ve all studied them. Stuffed them into backpacks or the seatback pocket of our car. Maybe we’ve even been led astray by a map. But have you ever thought about the person who made that map? Or how that person might influence your initial impression of a landscape?
“A map is not a perfect representation of a landscape. It’s an abstract representation,” says cartographer Marty Schnure. Today, we have a story about a mapmaker, Patagonia Park, and the process Marty uses to create a map–a map that she hopes will connect you to a place.

Credit for photos above (in order): Allen Roberts, Andrew Bogaard, Tahria Sheather, Ross Donihue (x5).
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© 2017 Marty Schnure