A Chart for Alexa

I've been listening to Billy Joel lately on XM/Sirius, channel 4, and heard a Billy Joel song that I somehow missed all these years. It's called "Downeaster Alexa" about a fishing boat and the captain who struggles to make a living from the sea.  (By the way Alexa is the name of Bill Joell's daughter.) Here are a few excerpts:

"Well I'm on the Downeaster Alexa
And I'm cruising through Block Island Sound
I have charted a course to the Vineyard
But tonight I am Nantucket bound

We took on diesel back in Montauk yesterday
Left this morning from the bell in Gardiner's Bay . . .

So if you see my Downeaster Alexa
And if you work with the rod and the reel
Tell my wife I am trolling Atlantis
And I still have my hands on the wheel"


Downeaster Chart.JPG

The interesting part of the song is that the names are of real places. Here is a portion of Chart 13205 where I have circled some of the names listed in bold in Billy Joel's lyrics.

The takeaway message is that charts are for more than recreational use. Many mariners who struggle to make a living from the sea use their charts as a business plan.  Their charts are also a way of keeping themselves safe as they face the many challenges of the sea.

Vineyard Course.JPG

Now you don't have to be the skipper of Downeaster Alexa to enjoy nautical charts. Whether it is for business or pleasure, a nautical chart mural is certainly a conversation starter. Let us help you get one in your home or office. Call 801-367-7945 and we will help you get started!

A Taste of East in the West

You, the kind and gentle reader who has followed these articles for several years, know that I am constantly perplexed about why almost all my clients live in the east. Yes, from the Great Lakes and down the eastern seaboard to Florida and the eastern part of the Gulf Coast, reside all of you who have purchased nautical chart murals from Nautical Chart Wallpaper.

There have been some west coast exceptions, of course.  But all totaled, there have been less than 10 orders on the west coast, while hundreds of orders come from the east.

So you can imagine my enthusiasm when Russell Deutsch in San Jose ordered a mural for his restaurant, Lobster Xpress. 

Lobster buoys.PNG

Finally, I'd be doing a mural of the San Francisco Bay! Or maybe Big Sur. Or Monterey Bay. 

But no.

Russell, who understands what side his bread is buttered on (and where the lobster goes) when making Lobster Rolls, wanted a mural of the fishing grounds for lobster.

Yep, even in California, the lobsters still come from the East Coast, from Nova Scotia south. 

Lobster Chart.PNG

Seriously, we were delighted to help Russell design and print his mural. We were so excited to have a West Coaster order from us that we even drove down from our home in the panhandle of Idaho to his San Jose, California shop,  just to take some pictures! Well that, and to go to Disneyland and then to Utah to see our kids and grandkids.

Lobster Landing.PNG

But we were excited to see how he decorated his restaurant to capture the essence of East-Coast lobster fishing.  As you can see, there are plenty of lobster trap buoys, a lovely landscape picture of a fisherman's landing and, of course, our mural.

And the lobster rolls were the very best I've ever had! 

So while nautical murals are just starting to become popular on the West Coast, we are truly grateful to have helped our many clients on the east coast make their mural dreams come true!

How about you? Are you ready to talk about a mural for your own home or office? Give us a call at 801-367-7945 and let's talk! 

And for a tasty lobster roll go to Lobster Xpress, close to Stanford University. Check them out at their Facebook page:. http://bit.ly/2y3rQUQ


My Beautiful Mistake

My poor mother. Every parent-teacher conference she heard the same thing: "You son shows potential but he just doesn't listen carefully."

Well, my teachers were right. And in the sixty-plus years since, I have REALLY tried to listen better, especially with clients I visit with on the phone a couple of thousand miles away from me. And Mom, you would be proud of me; generally, I do listen and get orders right.

But this week I blew it -- beautifully I might add!

Chesapeake Blue 1.PNG

My client Elaine Bowman of Village House asked me to make a color change; she wanted Benjamin-Moore's Sheer Romance No. 837. 

So I asked my graphics expert Kathryn to make the change. "Make all the colors Sheer Romance 837 except those areas in white." As you can see, it yielded quite a cool result.

But it wasn't what the client ordered!

Eliane simply wanted the blue shallow waters of a NOAA chart to be changed to the new blue color.  That way, it goes with the other color elements in the client's room.

Oops!  Thank heavens that I have a two-step proofing procedure to catch mistakes BEFORE going to print!

But everything is okay, we WILL get it right this time. And I WILL do a better job listening from now on. At least until my next beautiful mistake!

But for you, gentle reader, you will not make a mistake in working with Nautical Chart Wallpaper, because we keep at it until your mural is perfect for you before going to print!

Call us at 801-367-7945 and we'll make your mural dreams come true -- with NO mistakes!

The Big News is "Big Beach Builds" on DIY TV Featuring Nautical Chart Wallpaper

You read about us in Southern Living Magazine last fall. You saw our feature article in Country Living Magazine this summer. But we debuted on DIY TV in March on Season 1, Episode 4 of Big Beach Builds, and have been in some reruns since then. We have been quite busy with new clients who saw our work on the show.

Marnie and her brother open the Nautical Chart Mural

Marnie and her brother open the Nautical Chart Mural

In case you missed it, we'll recap it with some still pictures, courtesy of DIY TV and Marnie Oursler who is the star of Big Beach Builds.

Marnie and her paperhanger apply the panels to the wall.

Marnie and her paperhanger apply the panels to the wall.

The challenge was to cover a wall in the home of a sea captain who met his sweetheart on 4th Street in Bethany Beach decades ago and was fortunate enough to find a home for sale on that same street. But it needed Marnie Oursler to reconfigure the exterior and interior of their home to make it liveable. 

Marnie used a sponge to make sure the panels were adhering to the wall.

Marnie used a sponge to make sure the panels were adhering to the wall.

Once they opened and inspected the mural, Marnie brought in a paper hanger to help with the task of installing the mural.  The mural, seen on her DIY TV program, came in four panels with a one-inch overlap between panels.

After the first panel was plumbed, the second panel was added, making sure that the one-inch overlap matched exactly. The next step was to squeegee the panels, removing any bubbles. Finally, a double-cut on the seam was made, which matched the panels edge-to-edge. 

With the mural in place, Marnie added some finishing touches to the decorating.

With the mural in place, Marnie added some finishing touches to the decorating.

Marnie then added some trim to the mural, which framed it nicely on the wall.

After the mural was installed, the next step was to do some decorating in anticipation of the captain and his sweetheart seeing the home for the first time since Marnie worked her magic.


His reaction was priceless!

Marnie and the Captain see the wall.PNG

"Would you look at the charts!"

The captain's smile said it all.  Marnie's crew even put flags where his grandfather lived and where he met his wife. 

But that's not where the story ends. Marnie has invited us back for Season two, and we will be doing a bathroom in her latest Big Beach Builds.  

Watch for it on Season two of Big Beach Builds! Stay tuned!



And don't forget - you can do some nautical chart magic of your own. Just give us a call at 801-367-7945 and lets talk about YOUR project ideas!

A Mural that will make you Green with envy!

The chart of Long Island Sound, Rhode Island side, without color changes

The chart of Long Island Sound, Rhode Island side, without color changes

Linda Buffum is a client who lives in Rhode Island with her home overlooking Long Island Sound. That's enough to make many of us "green with envy" but, oh no, Linda didn't stop there! 

When we were discussing her mural, Linda said something that really caught my ear -- and eye! She said, " . . . you know, where we live is quite green with trees, grass, shrubs. It doesn't look at all like the beige you see in the chart. Why not turn the land green?"

Oddly enough, I never thought of that before she mentioned it. But much of our eastern coastline is indeed green with lovely trees, and grassy areas that go all the way to the shoreline!

The green land along the Rhode Island shoreline.

The green land along the Rhode Island shoreline.

I told LInda that we can do a color change for just $40 more but first she needed to let us know exactly what color in the Benjamin - Moore Color Collection she wanted.

She decided on Acadia Green 2034-50.

That color worked well as it was significantly different from the tidal flat color of sage green.  The rest of the chart colors remained the same.

As you can see, the result is wonderful!  We also enlarged the compass rose and moved it into place along the bottom of the mural.

So if you want your mural to have green land (without that many more "greenbacks"), you may want to take this cool idea from Linda Buffum's mural and do likewise.

We would love to help!


Introducing Tony Rodono of the Map Shop in Charlotte North Carolina

In my opinion, The Map Shop in Charlotte North Carolina is the very best map shop in the US. The new owner, Tony Rodono, has been very kind to our Nautical Chart Wallpaper business and has helped us in a variety of ways.  I highly recommend him to you, and Tony can be found at mapshop.com or by calling 800-532-6675. 

A few days ago, Tony sent his clients this fascinating article. I immediately contacted him for permission to reprint in my blog, which he graciously granted.

Please read it a couple of times and let his wisdom soak in. This is exactly why I started Nautical Chart Wallpaper 14 years ago. 

Creative Color in Topographical Maps

Not everyone can live on the coast and have a nautical chart mural proudly displaying their home or favorite sailing haunts. Some of us - myself included - live inland. For the landlocked, there are topographical maps that do an amazing job of displaying our stomping grounds in a colorful mural.

But topos often have colors that our clients want to have changed. No worries, we are the best at changing colors to match the color schemes of our clients.

Right now, for example, we are working with a client who lives in a very rural part of Tennessee. She wants a topo mural for her powder room but wants the colors to pop more than they do in a regular topo map. I've taken just a portion of her chart to show you how it looks in the original topo colors.

Here is how the original topo looked before any color treatments:

Her walls are painted in Benjamin-Moore color, Swiss Coffee OC-45. With that in mind, she wanted four color corrections made to the topographical map. (See color samples, Swiss Coffee, Greenwood Lake, Creamy Orange and Saffireberry)

Our graphics specialist, Kathryn Tyler made the changes and did them so that the colors will be intact upon enlargement (our standard procedure).

The topographical map looked like this after the four color changes were made:

It was a change for the better, but our client still wanted more color. For the second round, she asked us to change the Swiss Coffee color to Creamy Orange, leaving the other changes where they were.  Kathryn made the requested change and the topo now looks like this:

Here is the take-home point: While generally there are not any right or wrong answers to how to make color changes in your mural, there is a right answer for you, the client. Some choices are better than others; some choices make your wall the conversation piece you want in your home or office. Don't be afraid to explore the options. It is your wall, and we want to work with you to make it come to life. 

Now THAT'S Country Living!

Country Living Cover.PNG

We could not have been more excited to hear calls coming from both friends, clients, and potential clients as a result of the July / August 2017 Country Living Magazine.

Yes, on page 97, in the lower, right-hand corner, there we are for all the readers to see.

And there are quite a few Country Living readers -- how about 1,389,267? 

Needless to say, we are delighted to be featured in their "Shore Things" (The Water Issue).with a little write up about what we do and how much it costs to create a mural for your home or office.

Country living calls the Shore Things section, "the latest waves of summer must-haves for enjoying life at waterside . . . ."

We could not agree more!  

We have some great days of summer left. Let's get your mural created right now! Call us at 801-367-7945 or email us at skippersteve@gmail.com to get started! 

Multiple Walls from one chart

When a new client contacts us, they often have the idea that for each wall they do, say in a bathroom, they will need a new chart.

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth!

We can almost always find several views from one chart and make it work for our clients.

Here is a project we are working on now. The client loves the Shelter Island chart and has three walls. Wall A, represented by the red line, has a vanity in it to the left. Wall C, directly across the room has no obstacles and is represented by a blue line. The door wall, Wall D, has a narrow wall to the right of the door and an area across the top of the door that needs a mural.

With only a little overlap between views, all three walls have an interesting view of a portion of the chart. 

What chart captures your interested? Go to the "Getting Started" page of our website, click on "Map-based Chart Locator" and choose the perfect chart for your home or office mural.

Then call us and let us make your idea come to life on your wall!

Win a FREE Wall Mural!

Last fall, one of our clients, Elizabeth Coles, wrote a wonderful article about her redecorated bathroom, featuring a nautical chart mural. The Best of Fall issue of Southern Living published it and we have had a number of inquiries and orders because of that article.

Here is the link to that blog: http://bit.ly/2eWivD4

We also realize that we do not design wallpaper murals. Our clients do that. What we do is help our clients make their imagination become a reality on their walls. 

This article stirred interest among our clients.

This article stirred interest among our clients.

With that in mind, we have decided to have a contest. We will offer a prize of a 10' x 10' mural of your design for free. The prize is a $1,170.00 value which you can win if you are the first person to successfully be published in an article with pictures of your artistic interpretation of a Nautical Chart Mural. However, to qualify, you need to be published in any one of the magazines listed below -- AND be the first to have your magazine article published.

We will also feature your winning article in a subsequent blog.

Here is the list of magazines that are eligible for winning articles and pictures in our contest:

  • Better Homes and Gardens
  • Good Housekeeping
  • Ladies Home Journal
  • Southern Living
  • Coastal Living
  • HGTV Magazine
  • Architectural Digest
  • Martha Stewart Living
  • InStyle
  • Country Living
  • Sunset
  • County
  • Elle
  • Traditional Home
  • This Old House

Good luck with the contest! Get your cameras and word processors ready to show off your fabulous nautical chart wallpaper mural designs!

Customizing is our Custom

When we started Nautical Chart Wallpaper 14 years ago in 2004, there was only one other company doing custom wallpaper.  And in a few years, they were out of business. 

Now there are all kinds of businesses doing custom wallpaper work, but that fact remains that we not only have done this longer, we really do better than our competition.

Take our last clients for example. Neal and Donna Lewanda wanted a small mural of Cape Ann for the bathroom, but it was important to have it sized so that both Rockport and Gloucester were clearly visible.

But that wasn't all.

They also wanted:

  • A cartouche showing his wife as the designer
  • Some distracting text removed from the land
  • The words "North Atlantic Ocean" moved from another part of the chart into their mural.

That's not what we call "custom!" 

These items do not sound like much, and for us, it really is all in a day's work. But every custom wallpaper company besides ours doesn't do this. They will crop your chart in making a mural to fit your wall, but that's all they will do. 

We realize who the boss is. You, the client, are the boss, and our job is to make the image you imagine appear precisely as you want it in a mural. Color changes, image changes, text changes are part of the package.

Why not try out your imagination today, and order a nautical chart wallpaper mural for your home or office.  

We imagine you will have the perfect idea!



Your corner of the world made into your custom mural

When we started Nautical Chart Wallpaper fourteen years ago, the idea was to make it easy for our clients to have the mural they envisioned appear on their wall with as little work as possible from their end. Our goal was simple. They do the measuring, give us the idea and we would produce the mural and have it delivered to their doorstep. 

NOAA Nautical Chart of Elliott Bay and Seattle

NOAA Nautical Chart of Elliott Bay and Seattle

Today, more quality images are found digitally, our graphic software has improved significantly, and our murals are better than ever.

We also have more ways to make murals of your favorite area though nautical charts which you might expect with "Nautical Chart Wallpaper" as the name of our business implies.

But if you are landlocked, there are other options. City Maps, topographical maps, satellite images are all possible now and can be modified in any color arrangement you like.

So let's try an experiment. Just send us just two things, via email (skippersteve@gmail.com) or text (801-367-7945) or call (same number):

  1. The height and width of your mural area
  2. The street address, city, and state of wherever you live
A Topographical Map of South Seattle

A Topographical Map of South Seattle

We will then give you an assortment of images from which you might choose for a mural, and the cost of your mural, with no obligation to buy anything. If you like what you see, we can take your payment and have the mural to your doorstep in three weeks or less.

So show us your corner of the world with your street address, city, and state.  We will show you some mural ideas that will be amazing. 

The "55° F Rule" is Arriving!

There is a rule we discovered long ago which I like to call The 55° F Rule.  Put simply, when the weather reaches 55° Fahrenheit, then sailors come out of hibernation, take the tarps off their boats, wash off the dust of winter, and prepare to cast off their dock lines.  

This behavior marks the end of winter and the beginning of boating season. This dockside activity is defined less by the calendar and more by the thermometer. 

On the east coast of the United States where more than 90 percent of our clients are located, the 55° F Rule begins in the southern states and starts its annual climb northward to Maine and beyond.

That rule, coincidently, marks the beginning of our busy season in creating nautical chart murals.  Why? We don't know. Perhaps it is the time when sailors pull out their various rolled-up charts and begin to plan this year's voyages, 

But just maybe, when they are looking at their charts, the idea crosses their mind that it would be VERY cool to have their favorite sailing area made into a nautical chart mural. And the next step is to Google "nautical chart wallpaper" or "nautical chart murals" or whatever the search term.  And when that happens, we come right to the top because we have been doing this for 14 years -- long before there was such a thing as custom-made wallpaper. We pioneered it.  

The good news for you is that because of our long tenure in this venture, "nobody does it better" (to quote a James Bond movie).  

We can do whatever you imagine. Need a vector file? We can do it! Color changes? We do it with precision, using Benjamin-Moore color collections to give you the precise color.  Have obstacles on the walls?  We will provide layouts that will show you where your mirrors, doors, sconces, windows, etcetera will be located on your mural BEFORE you order your mural.

And we produce your mural on the top-of-the-line wall covering, which is the best quality money can buy. Our product is substantial in thickness, has a vinyl finish, and is easy to clean if smudges appear should dirty hands proudly show you where they love to sail!

Best of all we have not raised our prices in 14 years.  

It's getting warm.  Let's go sailing and order some nautical chart murals, folks!


I'm ready for my closeup, Skipper Steve

Okay movie buffs, remember what Gloria Swanson said in the last line of the 1950's movie "Sunset Boulevard?" Give up? It was: "All right Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my closeup."

Let's face it. Often, the closer you look, the worse things appear!

Expansion of a small area within a chart to a full-size wall can be challenging as well. Especially when the job requires expansion to the point where lines and letters appear jagged. This kind of image is the result of being rasterized and it composed of pixels which, upon extreme closeups, look jagged.  The more enlarged the image, the more jagged the result.

For many jobs, the rasterized image looks just fine. But here is an example of some work we are doing for the Boston Marketing Center.  The designer ordered a comprehensive color change and then wanted samples with the color work on it.  To do this, I calculated the amount of magnification needed for the proof sheet so that the client will see exactly how it will look on the wall.

Problem was, at that level of expansion, the pixels become altogether too large and jagged to look good.  This really shows up in letters at a slant and in curved lines.

To fix the problem, we had to graphically turn the image into a vectored file.  With a vectored file, there is no limit to how big an image may be expanded. You can see the difference in the second image.

This is just another reason why you should order murals from us and no one else. Most of our competitors will not venture into this extra process.  

We want your mural to look magnificent on your wall, and that sometimes means extra graphic work to make your closeup look amazing with a vectored image.

Let us help you order your nautical chart mural today.

We may be far away in the northwest, but we do excellent work close up!

Making a splash with unsplash

At Nautical Chart Wallpaper we have been creating Nautical Chart Wallpaper murals for 14 years. We are counting on doing nautical chart murals for at least another 14 years -- more if we can persuade one or more of our kids to take the business over some years from now.

Photo by Andrew Preble

Photo by Andrew Preble

But you, the faithful reader of our blog, already know this.  And further, you know that we do MORE than just nautical chart murals.  We do golf course murals from satellite imagery. We do murals from family photographs.  We do topographical murals for our land-locked map lovers.

So why haven't we touted murals from award-winning photographers? In a word, copyright protection. Almost all professional photographers -- and many amateur photographers -- copyright their photos. That means if we use one of them without their permission, they are only too happy to sue the daylights out of us AND you!

Photo by Paul Morris

Photo by Paul Morris

However, now there is a way to have a mural from the best photographers around. And we have to give the founders of Unsplash.com our hearty approbation for starting the site. You can sign up for free and get free photographs every week if you like, or just go their site and check out the photographs. 

Photo by Yashishtha

Photo by Yashishtha

Now then, what do you think all these photos have in common? Answer: They are all free for anyone to use for any reason!  There are no royalties, permissions, potential lawsuits, etc. You can have access to free downloads no questions asked!

But do you know what would be a MAGNIFICENT way to use these images? YES! A mural for your home or office.  But a fair warning: If you decide to go this route, be sure to work with a nice company who can graphically prepare your image so that it doesn't diffuse when enlarged to mural dimensions. Look no further than Nautical Chart Wallpaper. You need our experience in creating quality murals and we, in turn, will reward your trust with a mural that is printed on professional grade wallcovering that is made to last. 

Photo by Ashim D'Silva

Photo by Ashim D'Silva

Before I forget, please note the photographers whose names appear below each of the four photos featured today. Thanks to their generosity, you can use their works found on Unsplash.com for free.

So please give Unsplash.com a try.

Then give us a call if you find something suitable to fill a wall!

A Stairway to Heaven

Well, maybe NOT heaven, but "heavenly" is an apt description of how Nautical Chart Wallpaper tackles stairway murals.  

But it can be "hellish" for some to calculate the rise and tread of a stairway, finding the focal area, and many other problems that are not encountered in a simple rectangular mural.  For us, we love the challenge, and the opportunity to work with our clients to achieve the dramatic stairway of their dreams.

Introducing Tony Corneo, who wanted a stairway mural of Pensacola Florida, and on the backside of the second level, a chart mural of Lake Michigan.

Tony's letter says quite a bit about how we like to work with our clients. It reads:

Good morning.  I have attached pics of the NOAA wallpaper. It turned out fantastic...the dimensions, quality, and expert fit gave it a wow factor. We are very, very pleased.

Thank you, Steve. I know we spent a lot of time on the phone. Going over and over these pictures to get it just right…..then doing it again really paid off.  And it’s finally up!

Thank you, Gordon and Gordon [the paperhangers pictured below]. I was lucky to have found such experienced individuals who know the product, patience of application and expectations of a great job.


Tony and Susan Cornejo



The take-home message for us at Nautical Chart Wallpaper is all about frequent communication in the layout process.  For each of our clients, we send several layouts back and forth in order to get the image, focal point and impact to the client's exacting expectations.  


We also encourage our clients to get the best paperhangers they can find who have experience in hanging larger-than-usual panels of wallpaper.  Commercial experience is preferred.  The two gentlemen in the picture are key to making our work successful.  Many thanks, Gordon and Gordon!

The result speaks for itself.


So are you ready to emulate the lyric in the Led Zepplin anthem " . . . and she's buying a stairway to heaven?"

Just know that we can provide "heavenly" at down-to-earth prices.


The ins and outs of outsourcing

This blog is just for interior designers. 

No one appreciates the work an interior designer does more than we do. We work with interior designers every day at Nautical Chart Wallpaper, and we really know how hard you work for your clients.  

We also know that a nautical chart mural is just one element of your overall design concept. What about the color in the charts?  Does your decorating palette work well with the standard colors in a Nautical Chart? How can an enlarged image of a nautical chart on the wall enhance your interior plan?

The answer is simple: Let us help you, by outsourcing some of your work to us.

Here are just a few ways we can help.


We have our graphic programs coordinated with the Benjamin-Moore Color Collections. This means if the color of the land or water in the chart doesn't work with your palette, All you need to do is look in the Benjamin-Moore color deck and choose the precise color(s) you want.  Just let us know the name of the collection, the name of the color, and it's number.  Everything you need is on the swatch.  

We can also make the chart look aged or weathered. Anything you can imagine in color, we can do.

A brand-new chart with a very old look. Just one of many color treatments possible.

A brand-new chart with a very old look. Just one of many color treatments possible.


Your client likely has an area of importance to him/her in the chart area. Maybe a summer home, or a cove where your client, as a youthful pirate, searched for buried treasure. We can make sure that this focal area is at eye level when the mural is viewed.

We can also assure that the objects on the wall do not cover up important areas to the client.  


We can use your elevations and place the chart on the elevation for presentation to your client. Several different layouts are often necessary to get the layout just right for your clients, and we are happy to do as many as needed.

In short, interior design work is stressful.  Let us ease your stress by helping you prepare an amazing nautical chart mural for your client!

Colorful Casco Bay

For a number of years, we have had the computer view of our website framed with a repeating wallpaper pattern of the Puerto Rico area.  It looked pretty, but being a repeating pattern, it was not representative of the work we do. We take an image from a nautical chart and enlarge it to custom fit a client's wall. Period. 

Casco Cartouche.JPG

Now we can change colors, customize the chart to fit the client's needs, and even add images to the chart in order to personalize it better, but it is a mural we design, not repeating-pattern wallpaper.

So this week, we made a change. We used NOAA's Casco Bay chart to frame our computer-view website.  If you are reading this on a smartphone or a tablet, you will not see this view. Open this page on a computer to see what we mean. Here is what you would see on your computer:

Casco Bay is unique on east-coast charts as it has a lot of bright-green ocean areas amid some skinny islands with a southwest - northeast orientation. This is a very colorful chart and fun to use for a mural.

But what does the bright green signify?

The sage-green areas are tidal flats meaning that at low tide, they appear as land or mud, but at high tide, they appear like navigable water. Water yes, navigable no,

You can see an example of this color in the illustration above, extreme top-left corner. The bright green is below that on both sides of the illustration.

The bright green in the Casco Chart appears in ocean water that should normally be white on the chart, meaning more than 60 feet deep. (Shallow areas less than 60 feet are colored blue.)

So why isn't the ocean background white?

The Answer

Referring to "Nautical Chart Symbols, Abbreviations and Terms," published by NOAA and the Department of Defense, provides the answer.

In the section on "Depths" it illustrates the green coloring with this explanation: "Swept area, not adequately sounded (shown by purple or green tint).

Thus, while the green area provides a cautionary bit of advice to mariners, it looks marvelous in a mural -- from a decorator's perspective!

We are happy to host Casco, Chart number 13290 on our Nautical Chart Wallpaper Website.  

Don't you think it would look great on your wall? Give us a call and we will make it happen!

To Merge or Purge the Merge?

Within the last month, I have had three requests from clients to merge two chart areas together into one image for a mural. 

This usually is far more difficult than you might think.

It is hard to explain why that is, but let's try it here.  What our problem entails is a problem built into the charts themselves.  Any given chart is an attempt by the cartographer to make a curved surface or a slight dome (the curvature of the earth) into a flat surface.

Distortions in map-making are as old as the history of cartography. Here is an example.

On a Mercator Map, longitude lines run straight up and down as shown in this map. This cylindrical projection of the earth is more accurate the closer you are to the equator but distorts significantly as you approach the poles.  

In this first map, note that Greenland appears to be a little larger than South America, when in fact, Greenland is one-eighth the size of South America. 

In a projection where the longitudinal lines converge to the North Pole, as shown in the second map, Greenland appears more closely to its actual size. 

Back to our nautical chart merge problem

It is safe to say that there is distortion in every chart you see because of curvature of the earth. R. Knippers in his article has a good illustration of why that is, and curvature of the earth is at the center of the problem.

As you can see, depending on the technique used distortion can be found more at the center of the map in one method, and more along the edges in another.

That's why it is quite difficult to merge charts together.

Here's an example we worked on recently, involving two charts in Maine and a preliminary attempt to merge them.

As you can see, it is possible to get part of the two charts merged but have very noticeable distortion occur elsewhere.

The good news is that we can overcome the distortion, but it takes our graphic specialist Kathryn Tyler a little time to do this. She is magnificent at this skill and can make it impossible to see where the two charts are joined. It does add a little bit to the cost, but when you need to merge two charts, Kathryn Tyler is the best option.

Take Home Lesson: When you need to "sew" two chart edges together, Tyler is your Tailor!




Give me land, lots of land . . .

This is part two of Carol Orr's mural.  This one is installed above their main fireplace. Carol wanted a nice mural of Long Island Sound, both the Connecticut side and the Long Island New York side.

The problem was, NOAA made the chart with very little land north of the sound. You can see that in the first illustration. But to make the mural work for Carol, she needed more land. Why? Because she had some big beams above the fireplace and a large vent above the fireplace. If she did not have more land, the shoreline areas would disappear in the beams and the vent.

So we re-created the chart with more land.  Note too, that we took the map insets and informative text out of the chart. We also moved the NOAA cartouche and "Approaches to New York" down so that it would be more visible to the viewer.

With that, we were ready to put the mural into print. Here is the final masterpiece.  

The take-home message from Nautical Chart Wallpaper is that we can think AND work outside the box (and the boundaries of a chart)!