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This Chicago, IL- centered map is an example of a city-centered azimuthal equidistant map. It provides information about distance from Chicago to every other location in the world. It is a great map for residents of Chicago, but not much help if you don’t live there. And because any map has to distort SOME aspect of the truth, the further you get from Chicago, the worse the distortion of shapes. We have a Toronto-centered azimuthal equidistant map explained in detail in our book SEEING THOUGH MAPS (see page 28) if you’d like more information on how and why these city-centered maps are created. Samples of the Chicago map are printed in color on the front, with an explanation of azimuthal equidistant maps on the reverse.  Sample maps are printed at 8.5” x 11” and are $7.50.
Price:  $7.50
City centered maps

Chicago-centered World Map 8.5 x 11 in. works with cartographer Len Guelke to produce these maps for schools, businesses, and a variety of not-for-profit organizations. The cost for a custom map of this size is quite modest: $199.00.

The essential fact about you and the world, wherever you happen to live, is that you are at the center of it. The world is all around you and every place on earth is defined by this fact. The best global map for this situation, which applies to every one of us without exception, will be a map which is centered on where you happen to be. The world will be shown as it actually is experienced by you, in a particular place, spreading outwards in all directions.  If one is in London, one needs a London-centered map; if one is in Los Angeles a Los Angeles-centered map and so on for every place on earth. The notion that one world map could meet all needs must be revised. No one world map for all suffices, whether it is centered on the Pacific or Atlantic oceans, whether it has north or south at the top. Such maps might help us understand there are many ways to see the world, but none of them will to provide a world map that meets the needs of any specific individual or set of individuals who, by definition, are found in particular places. One requires a mapping strategy that has the world unfolding around one’s own country, city or place in all directions as it actually does. 

The reality that the world is all around us has yet to be adequately recognized on global and other maps. This situation can be corrected using a group of map projections that are centered on specific points of the globe, and known to cartographers as azimuthal projections. These projections (in particular the equal-area and equidistant versions) permit the cartographer to create a map of the world that is centered on a particular place. In this approach, the world is represented as a surface that surrounds the selected place and allows individuals living or residing in those places to see the world as it exists for them. Most importantly all routes to and from the map’s point of origin are represented as straight lines. This attribute of the equidistant azimuthal projections means that places located at equal distances from the center point form concentric circles defining the exact distances between the center point and all other places on earth. Such maps can correct misconceptions associated with many traditional and contemporary maps which give the misleading impression that lines of latitude invariably represent the shortest distances between places.

For information on custom maps for your city, go to or go to our home page at and refer to the yellow left-hand toolbar, clicking on Custom Map Services. There you will find detailed information on copyright permission, and be able to fill out a Custom Map Checklist to submit your specific needs for our review. For maps 36" - 45" across, the cost with significant map detail will be $1,200 - $1,800. ODT’s philosophy is that it takes many views, many perspectives, to truly understand the world. Our custom services are designed to help put you at the center of your world, so that you can understand it more fully.

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