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Crooked Maps?

Last updated on December 27, 2020

In working on the forthcoming MMBA trail guide data I’ve had to find the lat/lon boundaries for rectangular maps so they can be presented as overlays on a Google Map. In doing this I’ve found that almost all of the Michigan DNR-drawn maps seem slightly crooked compared to what I see in OpenStreetMap. It almost looks as if the designer of the map rotated it slightly so that the north/south roads align with the page border.

When making the Stony Creek and Addison Oaks maps I’d noticed that roads which I’d previously thought of as oriented perfectly north-south or east-west were slightly crooked. Now I’m wondering if there’s something I’m not understanding with regards to map projections in Michigan.

Reading this article from the DNR about map projections I see that Michigan has its own projection system called Michigan State Plane Coordinate System. (More info here at Wikipedia.) So, I’m starting to wonder if there’s something that I’m missing and possibly doing wrong with regards to map making in Michigan. I just don’t know enough to know yet.

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