I am going to make so many more of these. I'm also pretty sure the future recipient of this one and his parents don't read this blog so I'm posting my progress.
Last night, boil in tea water for 30 minutes. Pour out water and leave until morning. Bright and early, bake in oven at 200° and check every 20 minutes. This takes an hourish. Very carefully open maps up on a flat surface and let air dry or a fan speeds it up. Next, spray with misted water and iron until flat enough. You will never get it back to the original flatness so don't worry. Draw in everything you can wring and scrounge out of your head. I seriously spent a good 6 hours (total) making it purty.
Paint! Don't go overboard, the water color effect takes patience so colors don't bleed together too much. Air dry, mist and iron. Place names! I used all the nieces and nephew names then started in on fictional places. They'll be on Wikipedia for days trying to figure it all out.
The final product will be delivered tomorrow night. This is always the scariest part no matter if the kids always like your stuff. I hate the unwrapping and what's this? and oh I like that (or not). Gift anxiety is what it's called times a million for something you made.