The history of mapformation, LLC

tonn consulting: 1992 to 2000
The earliest traces of mapformation can be found in the fall of 1992, when Derek Tonn, current President and Co-Owner, informally launched Tonn Consulting as the result of booking a handful of freelance graphic design contracts for clients such as Taco John’s and Architrave Design & Remodeling in the Minneapolis Saint Paul (Minnesota) metropolitan area. Tonn Consulting continued to operate on a very limited basis (30-40 hours per month) developing maps and floor diagrams from 1992 to 2000, when the demand for mapping services steadily grew and began to exceed what Derek could support on a part-time basis. After much deliberation and discussion with Becky, his wife, Derek decided to more broadly promote design cartography services to a very specific target market: collegiate conference and events offices.

tonnhaus design first logo
tonnhaus design: The Early Years (2000 to 2003)
On June 12, 2000, tonnhaus design was officially born. Derek and Becky began to more aggressively market tonnhaus services to an ever-expanding geographic base of collegiate clientele, and found it necessary to hire additional part-time production staff in order to meet demand. Peter Tonn, cousin of Derek Tonn, was added to our staff in the spring of 2001. Six months later, David Burley of Burleigh Design was added to our firm in order to address an ever-growing production schedule. In the winter of 2001-2002, tonnhaus design began to undertake the most aggressive expansion efforts in our firm’s short history. Significant efforts were made to expand to new industries, as well as new geographic regions. Our firm also created its quarterly newsletter, launched “Stage Three” of its web site, and recreated our overall corporate identity. The spring of 2002 brought with it unprecedented levels of growth and change for our firm. An eight state, 1,500 individual promotional campaign was launched within the Great Lakes region of the United States, along with numerous other activities. The hours that Peter Tonn had been working were replaced and expanded upon with the hiring of Tom Pankratz in June 2002.

tonnhaus design second logo
tonnhaus design: Growth and Expansion (2003 to 2006)
In August of 2003, tonnhaus design received the 1,000,000th hit on our corporate web site, a feat which was tremendous considering the fact that our firm was barely over three years old at the time. Two months later on October 3, 2003, co-owners Derek and Becky Tonn made a BIG move and relocated the firm from Saint Paul to Springfield, Minnesota, in order to pursue a slower, more manageable pace to life while allowing Becky to join the firm full-time. In May of 2004, tonnhaus design added Paul Currie of Cartologic (New Brunswick, Canada) to our design staff. We also launched an innovative print mapping service entitled “mapformation”, combining the printing of campus maps with a great deal of additional information about an institution into one attractive and convenient package. In February 2005, Michael Karpovage of Jack’s River Communications was added to our staff, in effort to launch a new “raster” 3D perspective campus mapping line to our existing campus mapping services. Our new “raster” 3D perspective mapping line proved very popular with prospective clients, and has generated numerous additional project leads for our firm.

mapformation logo
mapformation: 2006 to Present
In August 2005, tonnhaus design made the largest transaction in our firm’s history, acquiring North Illustrations and adding Robert North‘s creative hand-rendered 3D perspective mapping style to our list of product offerings. Our firm also inherited approximately 65 new collegiate clients as a part of the acquisition, making us one of the 2-3 largest design cartography firms in North America. That acquisition also triggered a number of other major expansion and partnership agreements, including:

  • October 2005: Becoming a distributor of custom View-Master applications via an agreement with Fisher-Price.
  • December 2005: Adding Nate Logston to our illustration team and subsequently launching a new 360-degree mapping unit using Trimble SketchUp software applications.
  • January 2006: Signing a three-year licensing agreement to become the exclusive distributor of SeeBuddee technology for all mapping applications.
  • March 15, 2006: Officially renamed our company “mapformation” to correspond with the launch of our new web site.
  • January 1, 2007: Officially evolved as an organizational model from “mapformation” to mapformation, LLC.
  • March 1, 2007: Adding Aaron Gasper to our illustration team, to expand our Trimble SketchUp offerings to clients.
  • August 8, 2007: Adding Terry Sirrell to our illustration team, to expand our cartoon-style map offerings to clients.
  • January 1, 2009: Adding Eric Hunden to our illustration team, to expand our vector offerings to clients.
  • February 1, 2009: Adding Jean-Louis Rheault to our illustration team, to expand our raster and tourism map offerings to clients.
  • March 1, 2009: Adding Rad Smith to our illustration team, to expand our vector and ski resort offerings to clients.
  • October 1, 2009: Adding Paul Calhoun to our illustration team, to expand our raster offerings to clients.
  • September 23, 2010: Adding Z-Card ® North America as a partner, to help provide our clients with affordable, innovative print solutions.
  • March 24, 2011: Adding nuCloud as a partner, to help provide our clients with great, affordable interactive mapping solutions.
  • June 29, 2011: Adding Access Dubai as a partner, to handle sales and other promotional activities for our firm in and around the Arabian Peninsula.
  • February 1, 2012: Adding Gary D. Smith to our illustration team, to expand our vector offerings to clients.
  • February 1, 2012: Adding Gene Ullery-Smith to our illustration team, to expand our vector offerings to clients.
  • March 1, 2013: Adding Russ North to our sales team, to expand our operations and promotional activities in Southeast Asia.
  • April 1, 2013: Adding Darrell Ratliff to our illustration team, to expand our 3D and photo-realistic offerings to clients.
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