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LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT US:

Ahoy! We're developing a site for nautical enthusiasts.

Our brand feel is preppy (think Vineyard Vines / Nantucket / Martha's Vineyard). We love the water, we're fun, yet utilitarian and simple, elegant and clean, with a deep respect for nautical tradition and flair.

Aye, aye, cap'n!

HERE IS WHAT WE NEED:

Consider the subtle differences in how cartography design appears on http://maps.google.com vs. http://maps.live.com, then consider a site like http://www.everyblock.com. All of these sites have a different approach to presenting a street map.

We are building a capability similar to Google Maps, but for nautical charts. We will have the capability to define our own cartography look and feel, but it is important to not go so far off the standard look and feel that folks cannot figure out what they're looking at any more. We're asking you to submit an illustration in the form of a "sample chart" that you draw. We will take the design we select and use it as the basis for our very own "chart stylesheet" to render presentations of real chart data (we have a database of all the underlying features and vector shapes in the chart that allows us to present it using any design we want using our mapping engine -- but we need to design the style / look / feel of our maps -- that's where you come in).

Modern Charts are published by NOAA in the United States and the British Admiralty in the UK.

Example of NOAA Chart:

http://www.charts.noaa.gov/OnLineViewer/...

http://www.charts.noaa.gov/OnLineViewer/...

Or google for "NOAA Nautical Chart" (They are in the public domain)

Note there are no copyrights on NOAA charts, so you can copy their work and/or create derivative works (the latter is what's important for us -- we want a look & feel that's different but it can be based largely on what exists, just like google maps is similar to mapquest). Here is the design guide / style guide for the existing NOAA charts:

http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/c...

Example of UK British Admiralty Chart:

http://www.qhmportsmouth.com/images/char...

Admiralty Chart colors:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:B...

Here are some examples of vintage nautical charts:

1966: http://www.keyshistory.org/FK-NavChart19...

1976: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/co...

Additional Examples of nautical charts:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Catego...

Or google for "nautical charts"

Both NOAA and UK Admiralty sort of follow an open international standard for chart objects called IALA.

WHAT WE NEED ... we're looking for a new concept design for nautical charts. It should respect the integrity of past designs and existing standards where appropriate, but also consider a more modern, clean feel. It should not be confusing or difficult to understand for mariners familiar with the old maps, but it should also be clearly different. Consider how, every few years, Pepsi or Coke slightly updates their packaging and logo. We're looking for about that level of upgrade -- a radical departure that's difficult to understand probably wouldn't work for us. But we want it to be new, fresh and different enough that it's clearly unique.

We also don't want to fix it if it ain't broken. As such, deviations from the currently accepted practices should improve usability and design.

OUR TARGET AUDIENCE IS:

Nautical enthusiasts and boaters who are familiar with nautical charts.

WE LIKE THESE DESIGNS:

We like Edward Tufte. A Lot.

We like everyblock.com's work on street maps.

We think a few things in the Admiralty Charts are nicer than the NOAA charts, like their type faces and some of their color choices.

Did we mention Edward Tufte?

WE ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE (or we don't want to see) THIS IN OUR DESIGN:

Your test concept must illustrate a sample (mock up) nautical chart for ONE of the following locations:

Nantucket, MA

Cuttyhunk, MA

Newport, RI

You can decide which of above area to use. All of them are available in the online chart viewer from NOAA.

Note your design doesn't need to be accurate at this point -- it should just present the design concept -- i.e. if it were a Web page, we're asking you to show us the CSS in action, but the HTML can say lorem ipsum dolar, etc. In our case, this means that, for example, the depth soundings don't need to be located in the perfect place, nor do their values need to be accurate; labels for points of land or buoys can be made-up / inaccurate / etc.

What we're looking for a design direction for the future of Nautical Charts!

Give us your best shot. Anchors Aweigh!

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