Encapsulated Maps – designed to be used, built to last

What is an encapsulated map?

The printed map is mechanically inserted between two sheets of thin, clear plastic film and then sealed on all edges. This protects the map, providing fantastic durability and creating a really tough outer layer that is able to withstand the harshest of weather conditions.

We would recommend using a thin encapsulation material for folded maps, so that they can be easily refolded once they have been encapsulated. This makes the map very user-friendly, even when the weather isn’t.

Encapsulated maps are not to be confused with laminated maps. Lamination is when a thin plastic film is applied to one side of the map after printing. This is not as durable as encapsulation, but can be used to give a nice glossy finish. For further information, take a look at our dedicated laminated maps page.

We can offer encapsulation of flat or folded maps, with or without a cover.

How we produce encapsulated maps

Encapsulating a flat map is fairly straightforward as the printed flat map simply needs to trimmed on the guillotine to the final size, and then processed through the encapsulation machine as described below.

In the case of a folded map, the process becomes a little more complex and this is where our skill and experience really make Dennis Maps stand out:

The printed map is trimmed to its final size on the guillotine and then needs to be folded on one of our specialised map folding machines.

What happens next sounds a little bizarre – even to us!

The folded map is unfolded and laid completely flat. These unfolded and flattened sheets are then ready to be encapsulated. The sheets are fed into the encapsulation machine, where they pass between a set of rollers that apply the thin encapsulation film to each side of the sheet using both heat and pressure.

Encapsulated map with film cover - Purbeck
encapsulated map printing
Encapsulated maps - hard wearing maps for the outdoors

Any excess film on the borders is then trimmed off as the sheet passes through the machine, to ensure a nice even border of film on each edge of the sheet, usually around 3mm.

The encapsulated sheets then need to be refolded along the pre-existing fold lines and we are able to do this very quickly using our specialist map folding machines.

If there is a separate cover, then it will also need encapsulating, which happens on a smaller map cover encapsulation machine. Although the machine is smaller, the technical process is the same as that used to encapsulate the maps.

Encapsulated map and encapsulated cover are then joined together and folded into the finished product, with everything held in place by a neat retention band. If there is no separate cover, then the map can just be refolded, also with a retention band.

Equipment we use

The two encapsulation machines that we use are:

  • Galaxy 1100 Map Encapsulation Line
  • Galaxy 540 Map Cover Encapsulation Line

Why is encapsulation the right choice for you?

If you’re looking to print your map on regular paper, but would also like it to be waterproof, then our encapsulation service is definitely the right answer for you. This will provide you with a cost-effective and high quality product that is ready for the worst the weather may throw at it.

How can we help you?

If you’re not familiar with encapsulation and the benefits that it can offer, our experienced team will be happy to help you to find the best solution for you.

Please get in touch now!

Encapsulated maps - OS Explorer Bristol and Bath
Encapsulated maps equipment - film covered maps
Encapsulated maps for outdoor activities - film cover for durability