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Map Projections

  • By: Miriam Helen Hill
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Projections are manipulations of Earth's coordinates that are undertaken to represent the spherical Earth's surface as a flat plane. Projections are required to map the Earth on paper; the type of manipulation and the resulting output form a projection. Many diverse projections have been made, and they differ dramatically in appearance and properties. Most significantly, the properties of projections must correctly be matched with the purpose of the map, or else the map message may be distorted or inaccurately presented. Although projections apply mathematical formulas to position coordinates systematically, simple illustrative models are described here to clarify the output of the manipulations and to present classifications of projection types. Also, the resulting properties or characteristics of the projections and some specific projections and their strengths ...

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