What's "UP?

Maps and charts are created using an old paradigm that North should be at the top of the page.  Period.

Like most charts, North is found at the top of this chart

Like most charts, North is found at the top of this chart

And generally, NOAA charts are created just that way.  But there are exceptions.  In areas where the coast line is the focus and the coast runs in a north-to-south direction, the best “view” might be from onshore looking out to the sea, which makes the compass tilt dramatically away from the top of the page, (or the top of your mural if you choose to use that chart).  In the case of the Atlantic City chart, the top of the chart is Southeast, as displayed here:

Map Orientation 1.JPG

We can, of course, tilt things back so that the North has resumed its rightful place at the top of the page, but there is a visual cost for this – the name places are now shifted along with the compass to make reading difficult and visually distracting.  This is not recommended.

However, we are constrained by the space in which the mural will reside.  Sometimes there is no alternative but to shift our area to the point where the name places also shift to where reading is challenging – and distracting from your mural.

In a recent job, where the northwest-to-southeast orientation of Vancouver Island needed to be shifted to fit a horizontal recess in a restaurant wall, we needed to turn Vancouver Island 51° counter-clockwise, as shown here.. But the client also wanted the patrons of the restaurant to easily read the key place names on the chart.  To make that possible, he used our Photoshop expert, Kathryn Tyler, to turn 25 key place names to match the horizontal layout of the mural.  Not only did Kathryn do that, but she gave the colored chart an oil-painting look as well. In this close-up of the Vancouver Island chart, you can see that she turned "Saanich Peninsula" and "VICTORIA" to make these major place names more readable.  

This treatment was a bit more costly than most orders, but the client’s desires always come first.

The take-home message is this: If you can live with NOAA’s decision on how your chart should be oriented, you can have your mural just the way you want it AND save money. 

But regardless, we want you can have your mural just the way YOU want it! If your project becomes more involved than most mural orders, we will do our best to find ways to accomplish your mural while keeping the costs reasonable.