ProjectionTypeKey virtuesComments
StereographicazimuthalconformalCreated before 150 ADBest Used in areas over the Poles or for small scale continental mapping
Lambert Conformal ConicconicconformalCreated in 1772Best provided in mid-latitudes – e.g. USA, Europe and also Australia
Mercatorcylindricalconformal and true directionCreated in 1569Best supplied in areas around the Equator and also for naval navigation
Robinsonpseudo-cylindricalall qualities are distorted to create a ‘more pleasant’ appearanceCreated in the 1963Best Used in areas about the Equator
Transverse MercatorcylindricalconformalCreated in 1772Best Used for locations with a north-south orientation

Azimuthal estimate – Stereographic

The oldest well-known record of this forecast is from Ptolemy in about 150 AD. However it is believed that this forecast was renowned long before that time – more than likely as far earlier as the second century BC.

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Today, this is most likely one that the many widely offered Azimuthal projections. It is most typically used over Polar areas, yet can be used for tiny scale maps of continent such together Australia. The great attraction that the estimate is the the Earth shows up as if viewed form space or a globe.

This is a conformal projection in that shapes are well preserved over the map, although too much distortions do take place towards the sheet of the map. Directions room true native the centre of the map (the touch allude of our imagine ‘piece that paper’), but the map is not equal-area.

One interesting feature the the Stereographic projection is that any straight heat which runs v the centre point is a good Circle. The benefit of this is the for a ar of attention (e.g. Canberra, the funding city the Australia) a map which uses the Stereographic projection and is centred on that ar of attention true ranges can be calculated come other areas of interest (e.g. Canberra to Sydney; or Canberra to Darwin; or Canberra come Wellington, new Zealand).

These space two instances of maps using Stereographic projection over polar areas. In this the radiating present are good Circles. Projection information: Stereographic; centred on 140° East and also 90° south (the southern Pole) and also 90° phibìc (the north Pole), through a radius that 30° the end from each Pole.


Produced making use of G.PROJECTOR – software occurred by NASA and also the Goddard Institute because that Spatial Studies. Forecast information: Stereographic; centred ~ above 145° East and 30° South, v a radius the 30° out from the Pole. In this the great Circles space not as obvious as v the 2 Polar maps above, but the exact same principle applies: any kind of straight line which runs v the centre allude is a good Circle. This is an instance of how a good Circle walk not need to be a set line that Longitude the Latitude.



Conic projection – Lambert Conformal Conic

Johann Heinrich Lambert was a German ⁄ French mathematician and also scientist. His mathematics was taken into consideration revolutionary because that its time and also is still considered important today. In 1772 he exit both his Conformal Conic projection and the Transverse Mercator Projection.

Today the Lambert Conformal Conic projection has become a standard forecast for mapping big areas (small scale) in the mid-latitudes – such as USA, Europe and Australia. The has also become specifically popular v aeronautical charts such as the 1:100,000 scale people Aeronautical Charts map series.

This projection commonly used two conventional Parallels (lines of latitudes which room unevenly spaced concentric circles).

The forecast is conformal in that shapes are well preserved for a considerable extent near to the typical Parallels. For world maps the forms are extremely distorted away from typical Parallels. This is why the is very popular for regional maps in mid-latitude areas (approximately 20° come 60° North and also South).

Distances are just true along the standard Parallels. Throughout the whole map direction are generally true.

These two maps highlight the importance of selecting your conventional Parallel(s) carefully. For the an initial one the standard Parallels room in the North and for the second they room in the South. Forecast information: Lambert Conformal Conic; centred ~ above 140° East and also the Equator.First map has actually standard Parallels at 30° and 60° South and also the second has traditional Parallels in ~ 30° and 60° North.


The Lambert Conformal Conic is the wanted projection for regional maps in mid-latitudes. In Australia the nationwide mapping company prefers to use this estimate using 18° and 36° southern as the two standard Parallels. Projection information: Lambert Conformal Conic; centred ~ above 140° East and also 25° South, and also two standard Parallels 18° and also 36° South.



Cylindrical estimate – Mercator

Notice the large distortions in the Arctic and also Antarctic regions, but the reasonable depiction of landmasses the end to about 50° north and also south. Projection information: Mercator; centred ~ above 140° East and also the conventional Parallel is the Equator

One that the most famous map projections is the Mercator, developed by a Flemish cartographer and geographer, Geradus Mercator in 1569.

It ended up being the standard map estimate for nautical purposes since of its capability to stand for lines of continuous true direction. (Constant true direction way that the right line connecting any type of two clues on the map is the same direction that a compass would show.) In one era of sailing ships and navigation based on direction only, this to be a vitally important feature the this projection.

The Mercator Projection always has the Equator together its conventional Parallel. Its construction is such the the lines of longitude and also latitude are at right angles come each various other – this method that a world map is constantly a rectangle.

Also, the present of longitude are evenly spaced apart. However the distance in between the lines of latitude increase away from the Equator. This connection is what enables the direction between any two point out on the map come be continuous true direction.

While this relationship in between lines of lines of latitude and also longitude effectively maintains direction, it enables for distortion to take place to areas, shapes and also distances. Nearest the Equator there is small distortion. Ranges along the Equator are constantly correct, but nowhere rather on the map. Between around 15° north and also south the areas and also shapes space well preserved. Further out (to around 50° north and south) the areas and shapes are sensibly well preserved. This is why, for offers other than marine navigation, the Mercator forecast is recommended for usage in the Equatorial region only.

Despite these distortions the Mercator estimate is normally regarded as being a conformal projection. This is since within little areas forms are basically true.

See likewise Transverse Mercator and also Universal Transverse Mercator below.


Cylindrical estimate – Robinson

In the 1960s Arthur H. Robinson, a Wisconsin geography professor, arisen a projection which has become much more popular than the Mercator estimate for world maps. It was emerged because modern-day map machines had end up being dissatisfied through the distortions innate in the Mercator projection and also they want a human being projection which ‘looked’ more like reality.

In its time, the Robinson estimate replaced the Mercator projection as the wanted projection for civilization maps. Major publishing homes which have used the Robinson projection encompass Rand McNally and also National Geographic.

Compare this come the Mercator forecast map above. Projection information: Robinson; centred top top 140° East and the conventional Parallel is the Equator.

As the is a pseudo-cylindrical projection, the Equator is its conventional Parallel and also it quiet has similar distortion troubles to the Mercator projection.

Between around 0° and also 15° the areas and also shapes are well preserved. However, the selection of agree distortion has been increased from around 15° north and south to roughly 45° phibìc to south. Also, there is less distortion in the Polar regions.

Unlike the Mercator projection, the Robinson projection has actually both the currently of altitude and also longitude same spaced throughout the map. The other far-ranging difference to the Mercator is that just the line of longitude in the center of the map is straight (Central Meridian), all others are curved, through the quantity of curve raising away from the central Meridian.

In opting for a an ext pleasing appearance, the Robinson forecast ‘traded’ off distortions – this forecast is no conformal, equal-area, equidistant nor true direction.

Cylindrical forecast – Transverse Mercator

Johann Heinrich Lambert was a German ⁄ French mathematician and also scientist. His mathematics was considered revolutionary because that its time and is still considered important today. In 1772 he exit both his Conformal Conic projection and the Transverse Mercator projection.

The Transverse Mercator estimate is based upon the very successful Mercator projection. The key strength that the Mercator forecast is that it is highly accurate close to the Equator (the ‘touch point’ of our imaginary item of document – otherwise called the traditional Parallel) and the main difficulty with the projection is the distortions boost away indigenous the Equator. This set of virtues and vices expected that the Mercator projection is highly suitable for mapping areas which have an east-west orientation close to to the Equator however not an ideal for mapping areas which have are north-south orientation (eg southern America or Chile).

Lambert’s punch of genius to be to change the means the imaginary item of record touched the Earth… rather of touching the Equator he had it touching a heat of Longitude (any line of longitude). This touch suggest is called the main Meridian of a map. This intended that accurate maps of areas with north-south orientated places might now it is in produced. The map an equipment only required to select a central Meridian i m sorry ran with the middle of the map.



A Special case – universal Transverse Mercator device (UTM)

It took one more 200 years because that the next advancement in take place for the Mercator projection.

Again, prefer Lambert’s revolutionary adjust to the way that the Mercator forecast was calculated; this development was a readjust in just how the Transverse Mercator estimate was used. In 1947 the phibìc Atlantic treaty Organisation (NATO) developed the global Transverse Mercator coordinate system (generally simply referred to as UTM).

NATO recognised the the Mercator/Transverse Mercator projection was extremely accurate follow me its typical Parallel/Central Meridian. Indeed as far as 5° away from the standard Parallel ⁄ main Meridian there to be minimal distortion.

Like the civilization Aeronautical Charts, the UTM device was able to develop on the achievements of the international Map the the World. as well as developing an agreed, international specification the IMW had occurred a continual grid mechanism which covered the entire Surface of the Earth. For low to mid-latitudes (0° come 60° North and South) the IMW created a grid device that to be 6° the longitude large and 4° that latitude high.

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Using this NATO designed a comparable regular mechanism for the Earth through which it was divided into a collection of 6° the longitudinal broad zones. There space a full of 60 longitudinal zones and these space numbered 1 come 60 – eastern from longitude 180° . These expand from the phibìc Pole come the south Pole. A main meridian is put in center of every longitudinal zone. Together a result, in ~ a zone naught is an ext than 3° native the central meridian and also therefore locations, shapes and also sizes and directions between all attributes are really accurate.