Making the Map & a bit about the Island.

Next year, 2013, will be our 28th. year of regular visits to Paxos. It is about 19 years since we started work on mapping the island, having been disappointed by the poor standard of the small maps being sold there.

On my 1982 visit I bought a map, as I always do when first visiting a country or locality and on our later explorations from 1985 onwards, we soon became aware of how hopelessly inaccurate were the small maps being sold on the Island, which had the commonality of being wrong, but often in different ways! Guaranteed, we used to say, to get you lost. (Some are still on-sale and only in January 2006 in the brand-new, award-winning, brochure of one of the best villa agencies, does one find a map, quite pretty and attractive to look at but which omits some of the most important main roads. Now if the main roads are incorrect, what of the minor lanes, tracks and footpaths? Hopelessly inaccurate!)

On an Island densely covered with olive trees and with an abundance of paths and tracks, an accurate map is more than usually necessary. One olive tree looks much like another!

In Greece there is no equivalent of the Ordnance Survey, thus there is no safe, basic survey on which to base anything. (In actual fact there is an official Military Survey, generally referred to as "The Army Map" but this is an Official Secret and no ordinary inhabitant has access to it.- This situation seems likely to change soon, as the EU has issued a Directive requiring every Member State to make publicly available accurate cadastral mapping. A facility which the UK has enjoyed for over 150 years!)

So it seems to be left to visitors to do something about it. Between 1985 & 88 Commander John Bird and his wife Joyce, during extended summer visits to Paxos, undertook a detailed survey of the Island using plane-table, compass and paces. From this they produced what, as far as I know, was the first large-scale (1:13,400) map of Paxos. This was printed using the dye-line process in black & white, which is cheap, though relatively few copies were published. Income from sales was donated to Bogdanatika Clinic.

Copies of Bird's Map were always scarce but we eventually achieved one and I updated my copy as new roads were built and additional paths discovered.

In recent years, more advanced GPS Receivers have been bought, allowing detail to be plotted on their own little screens as one goes along and then downloaded to PC back at the villa.

All, then known, footpaths were re-plotted and the detail of the inland villages improved and up-dated. Subsequently for the 2008 Edition 10a, all contours were re-plotted and re-drawn, at 25m. intervals to give a better impression of the land-form.

There is a dichotomy between showing the contour too firmly (or darkly) and obscuring the other map detail and a compromise has had to be reached which may not satisfy all, but I have tried my best!

The kind gift of two air photographs of Gaios has been a help; Elizabeth has painstakingly traced them onto the latest edition Map. Similarly helpful has been the better definition of Google satellite-cover over recent years. To my astonishment I found that the coastline as indicated by Google, had most remarkable agreement with my survey and though I have taken the liberty to copy Google in some areas and must acknowledge this, the adjustments have been slight. Inland, of course, with the heavy tree-cover, aerial images are of little help.

There was a short stretch of the south-west coast where I lost satellite cover in Dimitrios' boat and the 10th. Edition had to rely on the 9th. This bit of coast has turned out to contain most interesting detail including Footpath 43a and its branches and the most interesting Ellinki (or Hellenic) cisterna. This was fully illustrated on the 10a Edition Map. Some necessary minor adjustment to FP46e has been shown on Edition 12.

Which bring me to placenames in general. All cartographers have the problem of how and where to insert placenames. Basically you can only insert them where there is SPACE among the drawn detail. This may not accurately define the actual location. This is made especially difficult on Paxos where many settlements have no discernible nucleus. Once again I've tried to do my best and have certainly corrected my worst error with Petratika, near Lakka. But there may be others. Noticeably, if one looks at published lists of Tavernas and other businesses on the Island, there seems to be many place-names which I don't show at all. I think different locals have sometimes different names for the same locality! The recent publication of Salvator's History and also the new TOPO map have further complicated things and you will find a considerable re-siting of them on the 12th. 

Edition 11 was to be a Greek language version and although I have done a lot of work on it, aided by our Wine Merchant, who happens to come from Zante, it has now ground to a halt. At least 3 Paxiots, volunteered 3 years ago, to help with translation and placename location. I am still waiting to hear from them! (despite reminders). The Spanish have Manayna; the Manx Traie-d-looir which translates as To-morrow will do. The Greek version seems to amount to Next Year will do - or even the one after  at least on Paxos.

So this latest (and, most probably, the last) one becomes Edition 12.

You will appreciate that I have no longer the energy to re-walk all the paths. However I (sometimes we or I + someone else) have re-walked some of them and, as you will see, we keep finding new ones. I am always greatly challenged to find out what lies around the next corner! Similarly, I'm always being amazed by things I do find.

Of course, this version includes all the UPDATE material which had previously appeared on my website, suitably interwoven, I hope, into the text. Later info is published in the appropiate pages here.


The Map itself has had a lot of work too, partly to improve upon the disappointing printed appearance of Edition 10a. and, of course, to include new development: roads, villas etc.


It has been almost totally re-drawn (once again) apart from the coastlines. All buildings now represent their actual position on the ground together with some recognition of their shape; at least that was my goal. However to do this it was necessary to resort to GoogleEarth. This has its drawbacks! When enlarged to the size necessary to make tracing possible, the scale becomes somewhat warped - one has only to look at the latitude and longitude lines to appreciate this; they wander around alarmingly! Also colour is a problem. Buildings with traditional red roofs show up fine but those with white or creamy-coloured ones, do not. A white patch can be a white roof, but it can just as easily be a limestone-paved courtyard or a limestone-chipped drive or parking area or even just bare limestone rock! And there's no question of just popping-out to have a look; not from the I.o.M!

So I trace what I can see (plus a bit of what I can imagine!) onto 'tiles' limited in size by the computer screen, and then have to re-sample these to the smaller scale of my map drafting - usually 200% of its eventual scale - and then try to fit the tiles - some 100 of them - to the fixed-points on my map, usually the roads, tracks and/or coastline. It is not easy, and a significant amount of juggling, in various directions, is needed. Thus, though I would like to think the results are accurate, they must be allowed a certain amount of licence. Additionally, I have tried to colour-code the building uses: Pink for residential including letting villas; Red for Civic uses, Black for business uses, shops etc and, of course, Purple for eccleastical.

Furthermore, Paxos was flown for GoogleEarth in 2006 and a lot of new villas have been built since then. So there remains some guesswork in their size and location! (Parts of Corfu have recently been re-flown and no doubt Paxos will follow, but inevitably too late for me.)

Whilst doing all this, I eventually realized that the terraced walling of the olive groves could also be copied in those areas where the tree-cover was not too dense. Working N-S, I was a third of the way down the Island by then, so had to start again from the top. It makes my Map just that little bit more complete.


All the lettering has been re-done, in a type-face hopefully, clearer and crisper. At the same time I have added-in feature and placenames taken from Salvator, where these can be fixed with reasonable accuracy. I have also identified, in Blue type, places of Historic or Scenic Interest.


The contours have been re-drawn (once again!) this time at 20m. intervals. It is surprising how much better the features and folds of the landscape now stand out.

Attention to the colouring has also been attempted, with mixed results! See what you think?

I have resorted to a full-sheet Map but I intended the folding of this so that it can be treated as a double-sided half-sheet if preferred; the printers have done it differently! So you will need to re-fold it back on itself along the centre-line before concertina-ing it. I could do it myself but to attempt 6,000 copies is a bit daunting!


The Booklet, whilst, perhaps not looking much different, apart from the picture, on the Front Cover;  has been re-formatted considerably. Again a new type-face has allowed more text on each page and although the overall number of pages has been reduced, there is definitely more content. It has been printed on thinner paper to keep the bulk manageable. A lot more photos have been inserted, all within the text, rather than on dedicated pages. This has increased the cost, unfortunately, but I think it worth it.

Much of the Introduction has been re-written, particulary in the 'History' elements, to reflect Salvator's researches. (& mine!). Comprehensive indices have been included, at last. Also a small Map showing just where Paxos sits in relation to the world around it. The Footpath directions have all been updated to incorporate all that was in the UPDATES on the website plus anything else brought to my attention. There are a few new ones.


Beware un-authorized copies of the MAP on sale seperately, particularly in magazine racks. They are ALL out of date and some pirated!


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