Most world go v life perfect happy in the expertise that the real earth looks like it walk on a conventional Mercator estimate map. Cartographers, map nerds and those that have seen this step from the West Wing recognize that this is not really the case.

You are watching: Polar map projection advantages and disadvantages

Wikipedia sums up why map projections are crucial in the an initial place:

Map projections are necessary for creating maps. All map projections distort the surface ar in some fashion. Depending on the purpose of the map, part distortions room acceptable and others room not; therefore, different map projections exist in stimulate to preserve some nature of the sphere-like body at the price of other properties. There is no border to the number of possible map projections.

The comic above by Randall Munroe at XKCD looks in ~ What her favorite map projections says about you (assuming you have one).

For those that don’t, here’s a an easy explanation of each type:

Mercator

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Map created by Strebe via Wikimedia

What it says about you: You’re not really right into maps.

Summary:

The Mercator estimate is a cylindrical map forecast presented through the Flemish geographer and cartographer Gerardus Mercator in 1569. It ended up being the traditional map forecast for nautical purposes due to the fact that of its capability to stand for lines of consistent course, known as rhumb lines or loxodromes, as directly segments that conserve the angles through the meridians.

Advantages:

The 2 properties, conformality and also straight rhumb lines, make this forecast uniquely suited to naval navigation: courses and bearings are measured making use of wind roses or protractors, and also the corresponding directions are quickly transferred from suggest to point, ~ above the map, v the aid of a parallel leader or a pair the navigational protractor triangles.

Disadvantages:

Mercator projection distorts the size of objects together the latitude increases from the Equator to the poles, whereby the range becomes infinite. So, for example, Greenland and also Antarctica appear much larger relative come land masses near the equator than they in reality are.

Source: Mercator estimate on Wikipedia.

Buy: Mercator: The guy Who Mapped the world

Van der Grinten

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Map produced by Strebe via Wikimedia

What it says around you: You’re no a complex person. Friend love the Mercator projection; you just wish that weren’t square. The Earth’s not a square, it’s a circle. You prefer circles. Today is gonna be a good day!

Summary:

The van der Grinten projection is a compromise map projection that is no equal-area no one conformal. It jobs the entire planet into a circle, despite the polar areas are topic to too much distortion.

Advantages:

It to be made renowned when the nationwide Geographic culture adopted it together their reference map the the civilization from 1922 till 1988.

Disadvantages:

<…> polar areas are subject to extreme distortion… is an arbitrary geometric building and construction on the plane.

Source: valve der Grinten estimate on Wikipedia

Buy: civilization Satellite Map – van Der Grinten – physics Topography

Robinson

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Map produced by Strebe via Wikimedia

What the says about you: You have actually a comfortable pair of running shoes the you wear everywhere. You like coffee and enjoy The Beatles. You think the Robinson is the best-looking projection, hands down.

Summary:

The Robinson projection is a map projection of a civilization map which reflects the entire civilization at once. It was specifically produced in an effort to discover a great compromise to the trouble of easily showing the entirety globe together a level image.

Advantages:

The Robinson estimate is neither equal-area no one conformal, abandoning both for a compromise. The creator feeling this developed a much better overall check out than might be completed by adhering to either. The meridians curve gently, avoiding extremes, but thereby large the poles right into long lines rather of leaving them as points.

Disadvantages:

<…>distortion close come the poles is severe, yet quickly declines to middle levels moving away indigenous them. The straight parallels indicate severe angular distortion in ~ the high latitudes towards the external edges the the map.

Source: Robinson estimate on Wikipedia

Buy: USA Markable Map/World Markable Map (Modified Robinson Projection)

Dymaxion

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Map developed by Eric Gaba via Wikimedia

What the says about you: You choose Isaac Asimov, XML, and shoes with toes. Friend think the Segway gained a negative rap. You very own 3D goggles, which you use to see rotating models of far better 3D goggles. You type in Dvorak.

Summary:

The Dymaxion map or Fuller map is a estimate of a world map onto the surface ar of one icosahedron, which deserve to be unfolded and flattened to 2 dimensions. The level map is greatly interrupted in stimulate to keep shapes and sizes.

Advantages:

It has less distortion of loved one size that areas, most notably when compared to the Mercator projection; and also less distortion of forms of areas, significantly when compared to the Gall–Peters projection. …

More unusually, the Dymaxion map does no have any kind of “right way up”.

Disadvantages:

It is not a gnomonic projection, whereby an international data expands from the center allude of a tangent facet external to the edges.

Source: Dymaxion map top top Wikipedia

Buy: Fuller estimate Dymaxion Air-ocean World

Winkel tripel

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Map created by Strebe via Wikimedia

What that says around you: National Geographic embraced the Winkel-Tripel in 1998, however you’ve been a W-T fan because long prior to “Nat Geo” showed up. You’re concerned it’s getting played out, and also are thinking of convert to the Kavrayskiy. You once left a party in disgust as soon as a guest proved up put on shoes through toes. Your favorite music genre is “Post–”.

Summary:

The Winkel tripel projection (Winkel III), a modified azimuthal map forecast of the world… The forecast is the arithmetic average of the equirectangular projection and also the Aitoff projection: The surname Tripel (German for “triple”) refers to Winkel’s goal of minimizing three kinds that distortion: area, direction, and distance.

Advantages:

<…> the Winkel tripel fares well versus several various other projections analyzed against their measures of distortion, producing little distance errors, tiny combinations of Tissot indicatrix ellipticity and also area errors, and also the the smallest skewness of any kind of of the projections.

Disadvantages:

The currently of latitude in Winkel Tripel they are slightly curved and non-parallel.

Also:

The Winkel Tripel forecast is not equidistant; over there is no point or points from which distances are presented accurately <…> The Winkel Tripel projection is no azimuthal; over there is no allude or points from which directions are displayed accurately.

Sources: Winkel tripel estimate on Wikipedia and Winkel Tripel Projections

Buy: human being Decorator (Laminated National geographical Reference Map – Winkel Tripel projection)

Goode Homolosine

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Map created by Strebe via Wikimedia

What it says about you: They speak mapping the planet on a 2D surface is favor flattening one orange peel, i m sorry seems sufficient to you. You like easy solutions.You think us wouldn’t have so plenty of problems if we’d just elect normal human being to Congress rather of Politicians. You think airlines should simply buy food from the restaurants near the gates and serve that on board. You readjust your car’s oil, but secretly wonder if friend really need to.

Summary:

The Goode homolosine projection (or interrupted Goode homolosine projection) is a pseudocylindrical, equal-area, composite map projection provided for human being maps. Usually it is presented with multiple interruptions. That equal-area property makes it beneficial for presenting spatial circulation of phenomena.

Advantages:

<…> an alternative to the Mercator projection for portraying global areal relationships. Goode readily available variations of the interruption plan for emphasizing the world’s land masses and the world’s oceans.

Disadvantages:

In that is most usual form, the map interrupts the phibìc Atlantic, the southern Atlantic, the southern Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and the whole east/west meridian that the map.

Source: Goode homolosine forecast on Wikipedia

Buy: Map of human being from Goode’s homolosine forecast

Hobo–Dyer

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Map produced by Strebe via Wikimedia

What that says around you: You want to avoid social imperialism, but you’ve heard bad things around Gall-Peters. You’re conflict-averse and buy organic. You use a recently-invented collection of gender-neutral pronouns and think that what the human being needs is a revolution in consciousness.

Summary:

The Hobo–Dyer map projection is a cylindrical equal-area projection, v standard parallels (where there is no north-south no one east-west distortion) in ~ 37.5° north and south the the equator.

Advantages:

The original ODT map is published on two sides, one side through north upwards and the other, southern upwards. This, in addition to its equal-area presentation, is plan to present a different perspective compared with more common non-equal area, north-up maps.

Disadvantages:

<…> the map follow me the low latitudes vertically much less than Peters, but at the price of greater compression close to the poles.

Source: Hobo–Dyer estimate on Wikipedia

Buy: The Hobo-Dyer equal area projection people map

Plate carrée (Equirectangular)

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Map developed by Strebe via Wikimedia

What it says around you: You think this one is fine. Girlfriend like how X and Y map to latitude and longitude. The various other projections overcomplicate things. You desire me to prevent asking around maps for this reason you can enjoy dinner.

Summary:

The estimate maps meridians to vertical straight lines of continuous spacing because that meridional intervals of constant spacing, and circles that latitude come horizontal directly lines of continuous spacing for constant intervals of parallels.

Advantages:

<…> the key carrée has end up being a conventional for global raster datasets, such together Celestia and NASA world Wind, due to the fact that of the an especially simple relationship in between the position of photo pixel on the map and its matching geographic ar on Earth.

Disadvantages:

The projection is neither equal area nor conformal. Because of the distortions introduced by this projection, it has tiny use in navigating or cadastral mapping <…>

Sources: Equirectangular estimate on Wikipedia

A Globe

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What it says about you: Yes, you’re really clever.

Summary:

A world is a three-dimensional scale model of Earth.

Advantages:

Same shape as the earth.

Disadvantages:

Can’t hang on a wall.

Buy: Replogle Globes Illuminated Diplomat Globe

Waterman Butterfly

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Map created by Steve waterman via Wikimedia

What the says around you: Really? You understand the Waterman? have you checked out the 1909 Cahill Map it’s based— …You have a framed reproduction at home?! Whoa. …Listen, forget this questions. Are you doing anything tonight?

Summary:

The plan is one unfolding that a globe treated as a truncated octahedron, evoking the butterfly map principle very first developed by bernard J.S. Cahill (1866–1944) in 1909.

– Waterman butterfly forecast on Wikipedia

Advantages:

The Waterman projection present the equator clearly, and continental shapes, ranges (within 10 %), locations (within 10 %) angular distortions (within 20 degrees), and also relative postions, together a compromise: statistically better than all other world maps.

– Butterfly Project

Disadvantages:

The north Polar meridians are drawn at conspicuously various longitude-widths, which develop visible stretch-distortion of Ellesmere Island and Greenland.

– evaluation of Waterman Octahedral world Map

Peirce Quincuncial

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Map developed by Strebe via Wikimedia

What the says around you: You think that when we look at a map, what we really watch is ourselves. ~ you an initial saw Inception, you sat silent in the theatre for six hours. The freaks you out to realize that everyone about you has a skeleton inside them. You have actually really looked at her hands.

Summary:

The Peirce quincuncial projection is a conformal map projection occurred by Charles Sanders Peirce in 1879.

Advantages:

It has actually been used freshly to present spherical panoramas for practical and aesthetic purposes, wherein it can existing the entire sphere through most areas being recognizable.

Disadvantages:

It is conformal all over except in ~ the 4 corners of the inner hemisphere (thus the midpoints of edges of the projection), whereby the equator and four meridians readjust direction abruptly (the equator is stood for by a square). These space singularities whereby differentiability fails.

<…>

the Peirce quincuncial has been rarely supplied for geographic purposes.

Source: Peirce quincuncial forecast on Wikipedia

Gall–Peters

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Map created by Strebe via Wikimedia

What that says around you: I hate you.

Summary:

The Gall–Peters projection, named after James Gall and Arno Peters, is one specialization of a configurable equal-area map projection well-known as the equal-area cylindric or cylindrical equal-area projection. It achieved considerable notoriety in the so late 20th century together the centerpiece of a controversy surrounding the political implications of map design.

Advantages:

On Peters’s projection, <…>, areas of equal size on the world are also equally sized on the map.

Disadvantages:

Peters’s favored projection suffers excessive distortion in the polar regions, as any type of cylindrical projection must, and also its distortion follow me the equator is considerable. Number of scholars have actually remarked on the irony the the projection’s undistorted presentation that the mid latitudes, including Peters’s aboriginal Germany, at the cost of the low latitudes, i m sorry host an ext of the technologically underdeveloped nations.

The claim of distance fidelity is specifically problematic: Peters’s map lacks distance fidelity anywhere except follow me the 45th parallels north and south, and then just in the direction of those parallels. No human being projection is great at preserving distances everywhere; Peters’s and also all various other cylindric projections space especially negative in the regard because east-west ranges inevitably balloon toward the poles.

See more: Craving: Anyone Know How Long To Freeze Otter Pops, Otter Pops: Freezer Pops

Source: Gall–Peters estimate on Wikipedia

For a further explanation of the comic please check out 977: Map Projections on explain XKCD. For even much more map projections see: perform of map projections top top Wikipedia.