'Don't leave home without STREETWISE.' --The New
'STREETWISE is an absolute travel essential.' --Travel + Leisure
'In a strange city, your sense of direction is only as good as
the map in your hands. The best maps to carry are published by
STREETWISE.' --Chicago Daily Herald
About the Author
STREETWISE® is the first map to be designed with
modern graphics and is the originator of the laminated,
accordion-fold map format. We’ve set the standard that every map
company has imitated but never duplicated. Our mission is to make
you feel comfortable, to make you feel safe in a place where
you’ve never been before and to enable you to experience a
familiar place more fully.
The company was founded in 1984 by Michael Brown, who had been in
international publishing for many years, setting up subsidiaries
for textbook publishers. In the 1970’s, Brown traveled
extensively throughout Africa, India, the Middle East and
Southeast Asia. Brown would take a large paper map, cut out the
city center, folded it up and slip it into his pocket, thus
preventing him from looking like a tourist in areas where
discretion is the better part of travel. This was his tool for
After many years on the road, Brown settled back in New York and
decided to start his own business, based on the adaptations he
had made to maps in his travels. His goal was to give someone the
ability to navigate easily in unfamiliar terrain.
He started with a new map format: the accordion fold. Such a
simple idea, but at the time it was revolutionary. No more
struggling to fold an awkward, oversized paper map. This new
format would enable the user to blend in like a native, instead
of stick out like a tourist. Brown then added lamination to
ensure that the map would be a lasting tool.
More important than the format was the design of the map itself.
It had to be a map that not only succeeded above and beyond any
map he had used, but was esthetically appealing as well. The look
of it had to be as striking as the functionality. Color was
introduced in a way that was never seen before in a map - vivid
purple for water, soothing gray for the background of street
grids, gold to highlight elements of the map. Clarity,
conciseness and convenience in a very stylish package.
Building the business was a 24 hour job. Brown sold the maps
during the day, zipping around Manhattan making deliveries on his
Harley Davidson. At night he packed the orders and did the design
work. More titles were added, each title requiring months of
research and design.
Today, STREETWISE® produces over 130 titles for major
destinations, regions and countries throughout the United States,
Canada, Mexico, Australia, Europe, the United Kingdom and Asia.
We have grown from the back of a motorcycle to selling millions
of maps around the world.
Yet each title is still painstakingly researched and updated.
STREETWISE® is one of the only, if not THE only map company that
conducts research by walking or driving an area to ensure
accuracy. After all, what good is the map if what you hold in
your hands doesn’t match what you see on the street sign? This
lengthy fact checking results in superior accuracy; in effect,
we’ve done the work, now you have the adventure.
In the end, it’s not about the map, it’s about getting out and
finding your own authentic experience wherever you go. It’s about
being in a city or a region and discovering things that you never
thought you would find. You can do this if you have confidence
and you have confidence if you have a great map. STREETWISE® is
the great map that you need.