Santo Maris Oia - Side B

Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa is an outstanding hotel located at the broader area of the settlement of Oia, at the north-western part of Santorini island. It occupies a considerable area, since it is completely composed of autonomous well allocated and vastly spread cute suites. Its advantageous location provides a breathtaking view to the unique and renowned sunset of Santorini from almost every room.

The management of the hotel decided to produce a very large scale plan of the overall unit to facilitate their customers to easily find their room and navigate themselves there, to spot all the in-house offered facilities and to read about the connection with neighbour locations and points of interest.

To implement these objectives they asked me to produce that plan, in a hand-drawn illustration without compromising scale or accuracy. They also asked for a large-scale map of the settlement of Oia, as well as for a map of the entire island of Santorini.

The moment I was commissioned with this project, I started to draw brief layouts to decide on the configuration of the final print. I had to find a golden ratio among a number of parameters, such as the dimensions of the print, which should be large enough to hold the required maps in a legible scale and at the same moment to be small enough to be user-friendly and easy to fold, unfold, carry and store.

I proposed a layout of width 68cm to height 48cm, which on Side A would accommodate the plan of the hotel in a scale of 1:650 (the larger possible at the given dimensions) and the settlement of Oia in a scale of 1:5,500, while on Side B would accommodate the island of Santorini, in a scale of 1:40,000.

The client agreed and I should proceed! Hard! That was about to be one of the most difficult projects I would have ever delivered.

I firstly coped with the Santorini island map of Side B. I created all necessary data, such as the roads network, points of cultural heritage, settlements, toponyms and stuff and I also produced a couple of hillshades and the associated contours.

Having collected all data, I started the cartographic part in ArcGIS Pro. I wanted to make a minimal looking map that would look hand-drawn as much as possible, to match with the hotel plan I was about to draw later in the process. So, I didn’t include any coloramp for the elevation, I very smoothly blended the hillshade in an aquarelle paper basemap and I created a short vignette to serve as the sea along the shoreline. Not bad I think. I also kept the palette short. Only a few colors participate to maintain the minimal look.

Another challenge was that I had to match the brand of my client. They already had a base palette for their brand colors. Therefore, all colors on my map are tint, tone and shade variations of their given brand palette. Same for the typography. Thankfully, their brand’s selected typefaces were more than suitable for cartography. In fact, they were amazing!

Then, I had to cope with the point symbols, which of course should definitely be hand-drawn. Some of them had already been drawn by the talented graphic designer Margarita Kondylaki (Motive Creative), while I had to draw myself the rest of them. All symbols were then introduced to Pro in SVG format, where they were further assembled, scaled and tinted.

I decorated the map with the legend, a reference map and a couple of supplementary maps of important locations associated with Santorini. I also included the covers of the print on that side.

It was about time to start drawing the principal component of the print, the hotel plan. The hotel management had already hired a drone specialist, who captured the entire property and produced a seamless ortho-rectified aerial image, as well as a photogrammetry digital surface model. Both precious elements of raw data.

I printed the aerial image in double the scale of the final plan and I traced the whole unit on transparent paper with pencil. I used various pencils in terms of tip hardness and graphite blackness and I very carefully and slowly traced every little corner, even the sunbeds. I also needed a couple of different light sources to help me see all the necessary details of the image through the transparent paper.

When I had traced everything (and spent some days off to restore the back-neck pain) I transferred the drawing to an aquarelle paper and I redrew it to enhance the contrast and to reveal all the details of the plan. Not a short process, but I learnt so many new things during the process.

I then scanned my final aquarelle drawing, I saved it in image format and I georeferenced it in ArcGIS Pro. And there it was! My hand-drawn hotel plan on a spatial aware raster layer in my GIS model. The rest were just routine. I digitized the drawing and transformed the pencil lines to vector feature layer lines and from there I produced polygons. I assigned values of the materials of the actual hotel plan to these polygons and I styled them with these values. 

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Santo Maris Oia - Side A
Santo Maris Oia - Side A
Santo Maris Oia - Side A
Santo Maris Oia - Side A

Having both layers, the aquarelle drawing and the colored polygons, simultaneously visible produced the desired result. I had produced a hand-drawn plan with digital coloring! 

I then produced a hillshade from the digital surface model of the property, captured with the drone, and I placed it on top. This simulated the shadows from the buildings and other elements of the plan and enhanced the perception of the third dimension.

Finally, I manually labeled all rooms and I also placed a numbered point layer with a reference key for the facilities of the hotel.

The plan of the hotel has also been incorporated on the web map I produced for the hotel’s website, which you may see here. The online version of the plan does not include the suites’ numbers, but it illustrates the facilities as interactive points with popups. It can be also used from the customers of the hotel to locate themselves whithin the premises or on the island, via the geolocation function. The web map was created with the Leaflet API for JavaScript.

At the other half of Side A, I designed a large scale map of Oia. I used the same symbols and color palette with Side B, to maintain consistency and I also produced a simplified version of the hotel plan, since it is clearly visible at the given scale. The map also depicts the most important places of interest in the settlement of Oia, as well as other useful information for the visitor, like bus stops, taxi stations etc.

Below the map, three columns of text, respecting the fold of the print, fulfill the picture and provide information about the history of Santorini and all the suggested to-do things on the island.

The printed map is for free distribution of the customers of Santo Maris Oia and one may find it at the reception of the hotel.

TitleSanto Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa
Map Scale1:650 (Side Aa) / 1:5,500 (Side Ab) / 1:40,000 (Side B)
LocationOia, Santorini, Cyclades, Greece
DimensionsWidth 68cm / Height 48cm
Cover DimensionsWidth 9.71cm / Height 19cm
ClientSanto Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa
ExpertiseArcGIS Pro, Leaflet