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A la Carte Maps The colorful À la Carte map to Shanghai. In today’s satellite-blanketed world of precise, GPS-determined maps, a splash of watercolor and some hand-written advice are nice, personal touches to pull out of your pocket while traveling. A la Carte Maps offers just that. The company was founded in 2009 by a pair of Swiss entrepreneurs and self-described “flashpackers” (backpackers with some extra flair — and cash) who were tired of lugging overweight, out-of-date guidebooks around on their travels. So they started a company, contracted artists in major cities across Europe, Asia and the United States, and produced a line of hand-painted, neatly packaged city maps. And next month, they are adding another five destinations to their roster.