What Is A Map Projection?
In geography and cartography, a map projection is a way to flatten the globe’s surface into a plane in order to make a map. Each map projection has its own pros and cons. As this requires systematic transformation of the latitudes and longitudes of different types of locations, it may look weird, but it still shows what it wants to show.
Mercator Map Projection
This projection was developed by Gerardus Mercator back in 1569 for navigational purposes. It’s ability to represent lines of constant course from coast to coast made it the perfect map for sailing the seas. Its popularity was so great that it became used as a geographic teaching aid even though the projection grossly distorts countries sizes. This is at its worst the closer you are to the poles. Greenland is 550% too big, it should fit into Africa 14 times!
Robinson Map Projection
This map is known as a ‘compromise’, it shows neither the shape or land mass of countries correct. Arthur Robinson developed it in 1963 using a more visual trial and error development. “I visualised the best-looking shapes and sizes. I worked with the variables, until it got to the point where, if I changed one of them, it didn’t get any better.” It was only at this point that he worked out the mathematical formula. The curved meridians, give it a nice spherical look. Our Classic world map uses the Robinson projection and is a contemporary tribute to the familiar schoolroom map.
Dymaxion Map Projection
This projection was released by R Buckminster Fuller in 1954 after several decades working on it. The world is projected onto the surface of a icosahedron, allowing it to be unfolded and flattened in two dimensions. It it said to represent the Earth’s continents as “one island”. His desire was to present a projection that had no “right way up” and lose the North up and South down presentation of other world maps.
Gall-Peters Map Projection
This is a cylindrical world map projection, that regains accuracy in surface area. It is named after James Gall and Arno Peters. Whilst Gall, first described the projection in 1855 it was not until 1973 when Peters, began to heavily market the projection as the ‘Peters World Map’ that it became popular. He called it a “new invention” that allowed poorer, less powerful nations to be restored to their rightful proportions. It is thought that the first use of the name ‘Gall Peters’ was by Arthur Robinson (Robinson Projection) in a pamphlet produced by the American Cartographic Association in 1986.
Sinu-Mollweide Map Projection
Developed in 1953 by Allen K Philbrick, this projection fuses the Sinusoidal projection , which was first used in the 16th Century, with Karl Brandan Mollweide’s map of 1805 and challenges our assumption of how the flattened globe should look. Still an equal area projection that maintains fidelity of area, we like this projection for its bold graphic view.
AuthaGraph Map Projection
Inspired by the Dymaxion Map, Hajime Narukawa’s map is made by dividing the spherical surface of the map into 96 triangles. These are then projected into a tetrahedron that can be unfolded into a rectangle. What this allows you to do is to retain the correct proportional sizes of the continents and oceans. Something never achieved before. Whilst the shapes of the continents are recognisable the layout certainly is not!
Hobo-Dyer Map Projection
Developed in 2002, this map is know as cylindrical projection because of its straight lines of longitude and latitude. Shape is sacrificed in order to represent countries in their correct proportional size. This is done by narrowing the lines of latitude as they approach the poles, in order to compensate for the missing convergence of the lines of longitude. It’s a really interesting and alternative thought provoking alternative view of our planet.
Winkel Tripel Map Projection
The Winkel Tripel projection is a modified azmiuthal projection. This is, in essence, a globe that is projected onto a flat surface giving it curved lines of latitude and curved meridians. The projection, by Oswald Winkel in1921 was developed with the goal of minimising the three kinds of distortion: area, direction and distance. Thus it became the Tripel Projection (German for triple). The projection is neither equal-area nor conformal, its main feature is that all of the parallels are curved except for the straight poles and equator. This gives a lovely spherical feeling to this two dimensional map.
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