Rotating a Data Frame
For most maps I make, I keep them oriented with north at the top of the page; however, sometimes the map fits the layout better if the data frame is rotated. I seem to remember that if a map is rotated, it is preferable to north rotated to the right. Is that correct, or it that a figment of my imagination?
I had produced a figure with north rotated to the right, but received figures of the site from another consultant, and their figures were rotated with north to the left. Does it matter, or is one direction preferable to the other?
Mapping Center Answer:
There is no cartographic rule dictating which way to rotate the data frame, if you need to vary from north at the top of the page. The general guideline though is to best fit the orientation of the map with the orientation of the page. As was pointed out to me recently by a colleague here, from a publishing perspective, wise use of space is often an economic decision. As you will soon be able to read in an upcoming blog entry, "If a space could be filled with map detail, and as a consequence take up a smaller area, there were savings, and therefore extra profit, to be made." So the bottom line is to make a decision that makes the best sense for your map and page layout. One cartographic "rule" that DOES relate to a map that is oriented so the north is not "up" is to ALWAYS include a north arrow or other oreintation indicator (like a graticule)! On these maps, you really need to alert the map reader that the map is not shown in the usual "north up" layout.
If you would like to post a comment, please login.