- Paul B. Anderson's huge Gallery of
Map Projections has no descriptions, but probably the
broadest range of publicly available projections, with
more than 300 PDF maps.
- The Rocky Mountain Mapping Center
at the USGS has a good collection of links
- John Savard's introduction to
map projections is very comprehensive. Don't
overlook the many other interesting resources in his home page.
- Birger Nielsen has a section on
map projection page
has several examples with accompanying Perl code. (if you like tea,
don't miss his
main site). At present the domain
seems to be expired.
Dr.-Ing. Rolf Böhm's
presents many, many projections. It also describes an Assembly-like
projection definition language and its interpreter
- Professor Waldo Tobler's site includes several
papers and presentations. It shows cartography can be both
serious and fun
- Steve Waterman's
description of his polyhedral map based on sphere-packing
- Dr. Mark R. Calabretta's papers
on celestial and world coordinates, including applications of map
projections to astronomy and complete descriptions of HEALPix and
- Gene Keyes's tribute to B.J.S. Cahill includes
of “butterfly” maps. There's also a discussion of his revision of
Cahill's design and detailed comparisons with other projections.
- Karen Mulcahy's Map Projection
Home Page, — at present, apparently rarely updated
Software and Data
The interested reader can find further reference material here:
- Monmonier, Mark, How to Lie with Maps, 2nd ed.,
University of Chicago Press, 1996.
Obviously not a textbook for liars; rather, a self-defense
manual alerting for deceptions which may lurk behind a pretty
and apparently authoritative picture. Emphasizes how projections
and other cartographic processes must necessarily misrepresent
reality, with or without malice.
- Robinson, Arthur H., Sale, Randall D., Elements of
Cartography, John Wiley and Sons, 1969.
Older version of a classic textbook. Covers most aspects of
the cartographer's job. The most recent edition, published
in 1995, is authored by Robinson, J.L. Morrison, P.C.Muehrcke,
J. Kimerling and S.C. Guptill.
- Woods, Dennis, The Power of Maps,
Guilford Press, 1992.
A sometimes pretentious manifesto on the hidden agendas of mapmakers.
One of very few voices defending Arno Peters and his
(mostly by attacking Peters's critics).
- American Cartographic Association, Which Map is
Best?, American Congress on Surveying and Mapping,
Short and practical booklet about the several conflicting
requirements of an adequate map. Several projections are
presented at identical scales for easy comparison of
- Gardner, Martin, Mathematical Games, Scientific
American 233(5), November 1975. Reprinted in
Gardner, Time Travel and Other Mathematical
Bewilderments, W.H.Freeman, 1988.
Brief review of cartographic concepts, plus a few unusual
- Snyder, John P., Flattening the Earth, University
of Chicago Press, 1993.
Monumental survey of map projections arranged in chronological
order. Sparse mathematics. My main source for historical information.
- Snyder, John P., Map Projections Used by the U.S.
Geological Survey, Geological Survey Bulletin 1532, 2nd
ed., U.S. Geological Survey, 1982.
Detailed descriptions of map projections employed at the
famous government mapping agency. Appendices include forward
and inverse equations, besides interpolation tables.
Jarke J.van Wijk's paper on myriahedral
projections, a novel approach with interesting possibilities
(only a nitpick: in Figure 1, the Dymaxion projection is misplaced,
since it is not equal-area). Don't miss the fascinating video.
J.H.Lambert, Notes and Comments on the Composition of Terrestrial
and Celestial Maps, originally published by the University of
Michigan in 1972, 2nd edition by Esri Press, 2011. The seminal (1772)
work which gave cartography a solid mathematical foundation and first
formally described several projections still widely used. This
revised translation by Waldo Tobler includes historical and biographical
notes by Maurer.
The following programs and data were used when composing these
map projection pages:
Formulas for the Eisenlohr and Van der Grinten IV projections
were kindly donated by
J.P. Snyder and Paul B. Anderson.
- SG, my simple projection application, used for all
outline and textured maps presented here
- GIMP, the GNU Image
Manipulation program, for image retouching and
- POV-Ray, a ray-tracer
for solid modeling
- Data for heavenly maps available
in coordinate form at
the Flight Gear
open-source flight simulator project, extracted from the
And now something which did not fit anywhere else
I hope this document has helped the reader to develop an
interest in cartography, understand some important concepts and
how to best choose (or refuse) a map projection. If not, one
may always take comfort in the immortal stanzas of Lewis
Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark — an Agony in Eight
Fit the First — The Landing
…Navigation was always a difficult art,
Though with only one ship and one bell:
And he feared he must really decline, for his part,
Undertaking another as well
Fit the Second — The Bellman's Speech
…He had bought a large map representing the sea,
Without the least vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
A map they could all understand.
"What's the good of Mercator's North Poles and
Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?
So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply
"They are merely conventional signs!
"Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and
But we've got our brave Captain to
(So the crew would protest) "that he's bought us the
A perfect and absolute blank!"
Copyright © 1996, 1997 Carlos A. Furuti
| ||www.progonos.com/furuti June 16, 2018|