Map Envelope: ‘It’s Mail With a Sense of Place’

Travel Blog  •  Michael Yessis  •  03.25.10 | 12:10 PM ET

The concept behind Map Envelope: Enter a location and add a message, and the site spits out a page with a Google Maps image in the form of an envelope. Write a note on the inside, fold it up, add a stamp and drop it in the mail. It’s simple. It’s brilliant. And, the first time I saw it earlier this week, I thought: It’s an aerogram for the digital age.

The second thing I thought: I wonder what Evan Rail thinks. Last May, he wrote a moving lament about the slow demise of ready-to-mail aerograms for World Hum. So I sent him a link and asked him what he thought:

I hadn’t heard of this before, but it’s a delightful surprise. This really is almost an aerogram, but customized, sort of like those special holiday aerograms put out by Royal Mail.

It’s mail with a sense of place.

I was surprised to see I could create a map envelope focused on my tiny square in central Prague. With high-quality satellite images, it’s kind of like “you can see my house from here.”

The big thing that traditional aerograms have as an advantage is that they include postage, which means you don’t have to search for a stamp. But if you could combine map envelopes with what the USPS calls PC Postage, which lets you “print the PC Postage indicia directly onto envelopes,” then maybe you’ve solved it. It sounds like a way for aerograms to continue even if the various international postal services no longer print them.

2 Comments for Map Envelope: ‘It’s Mail With a Sense of Place’

Barbara J. Isenberg 03.25.10 | 12:43 PM ET

How cool! When I was living in Istanbul 10 years ago as an exchange student, my entire family sent me aerograms on a regular basis. I absolutely loved them (as soon as I figured out how to open them without ripping the letter, of course). I think this is a perfectly neat idea!

Ben Keene 03.25.10 | 5:57 PM ET

Simple. Awesome. It’s simply awesome, or to coin a term: Maptastic!

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