Top 7 maps that ultimately explain map projections

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Map projections are cool, but they might be a bit scary. It’s difficult to understand how can you put a very complex round-shaped surface of the Earth on a flat plane. After reading this post, everything should be clear!

1. Portraying the features of a spherical surface on a flat plane
map-projections-explained

Map projection is portraying the features of a spherical surface on a flat plane. This cool image from the Rice Space Institute explains everything.

2. Amazing Map Projection Explanation From 1921

Map Projections - Geoawesomeness

This illustration from the book “Elements of map projection with applications to map and chart construction” written in 1921 by Charles H. Deetz (born in 1864) and Oscar S. Adams, (born in 1874) is one of the best illustrations of the concept of map projections ever.

3. All map projections compared

all-map-projections-compared-geoawesomeness

This amazing website is comparing parameters of key map projects. There are a lot of them.

4. Map projection can keep one parameter angle, area or distance undistorted

Mercator projection is conformal, so it preserves angles making it perfect for sailing navigation.

mercator-projection

Gall-Peters projection preserves areas. Now you can see that Africa is the largest continent.

gall-peters-projection

This equirectangular projection preserves distances.

rectang-35-6-1

source: Map-projections.net

5. Mercator projection lies

When comparing conformal Mercator projection (black lines) and equal area Gall-Peters projection (green shapes) you can notice that the world as we know it from Google Maps is a lie. Africa is the second largest continent after Asia. Australia is the size of Europe. Scandinavia is a tiny piece of land. And Greenland is not as big as South America. You want to learn more about the real sizes of countries around the world there is an awesome tool to discover it.

peters-projection-comparison-world-map

source: flatearthdisclosure

6. Map projections are not boring

Map projections are all about math. This means that you can do with them whatever you want to as long as each point on the map is mathematically defined. Check out these cool examples of crazy map projections:

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circum-splice

azimuthal map-projections-u1

Tangram

7. What these map projections say about you

what-map-projections-say-about-you

source: xkcd

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I'm a professional always thinking outside the box and a self-confessed gadget addict. As a son of a professor of cartography I was surrounded by maps all my life and as a result spatial way of thinking and seeing reality is naturally embedded in who I am.

24 COMMENTS

  1. The Gall-Peters map is just as distorting and deceitful of the truth and only exists for political deception. The Earth is a sphere. The poles do not suddenly become physically smaller and compressed. They stay their same size in reality. The best and most honest map representation shown on this page would be the equirectangular projection, where accurate distance measurement is taken into account which is how it is done in real life.

  2. […] [Breve inciso: resumidísimo y sin entrar en mucho detalle, estamos analizando objetos tridimensionales que queremos representar en un espacio bidimensional como la pantalla de nuestro PC, teléfono, en un papel,… Necesitamos poder transformar posiciones de un espacio a otro. Para ello se han inventado los sistemas de referencia espaciales que nos permiten hacer esas transformaciones. Estas transformaciones son imperfectas ya que hemos de sacrificar algunas de las características (ángulo…]. […]

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