The Robinson projection is a map projection of a world map which shows the entire world at once. It was specifically created in an attempt to find a good compromise to the problem of readily showing the whole globe as a flat image.
The Robinson projection was devised by Arthur H. Robinson in 1963 in response to an appeal from the Rand McNally company, which has used the projection in general-purpose world maps since that time. Robinson published details of the projection's construction in 1974. The National Geographic Society (NGS) began using the Robinson projection for general-purpose world maps in 1988, replacing the Van der Grinten projection.In 1998 NGS abandoned the Robinson projection for that use in favor of the Winkel tripel projection, as the latter "reduces the distortion of land masses as they near the poles".
The Robinson projection is neither equal-area nor conformal, abandoning both for a compromise. The creator felt that this produced a better overall view than could be achieved by adhering to either. The meridians curve gently, avoiding extremes, but thereby stretch the poles into long lines instead of leaving them as points.
Hence, distortion close to the poles is severe but quickly declines to moderate levels moving away from them. The straight parallels imply severe angular distortion at the high latitudes toward the outer edges of the map – a fault inherent in any pseudocylindrical projection. However, at the time it was developed, the projection effectively met Rand McNally's goal to produce appealing depictions of the entire world.
I decided to go about it backward. … I started with a kind of artistic approach. I visualized 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. Then I figured out the mathematical formula to produce that effect. Most mapmakers start with the mathematics.— 1988 New York Times article
The projection is defined by the table:
The table is indexed by latitude at 5-degree intervals; intermediate values are calculated using interpolation. Robinson did not specify any particular interpolation method, but it is reported that he used Aitken interpolation himself.The X column is the ratio of the length of the parallel to the length of the equator; the Y column can be multiplied by 0.2536 to obtain the ratio of the distance of that parallel from the equator to the length of the equator.
Coordinates of points on a map are computed as follows:
where R is the radius of the globe at the scale of the map, λ is the longitude of the point to plot, and λ0 is the central meridian chosen for the map (both λ and λ0 are expressed in radians).
Simple consequences of these formulas are:
The Gall–Peters projection is a rectangular map projection that maps all areas such that they have the correct sizes relative to each other. Like any equal-area projection, it achieves this goal by distorting most shapes. The projection is a particular example of the cylindrical equal-area projection with latitudes 45° north and south as the regions on the map that have no distortion.
The Mercator projection is a cylindrical map projection presented by Flemish geographer and cartographer Gerardus Mercator in 1569. It became the standard map projection for navigation because of its unique property of representing any course of constant bearing as a straight segment. Such a course, known as a rhumb or, mathematically, a loxodrome, is preferred in marine navigation because ships can sail in a constant compass direction for long stretches, reducing the difficult, error-prone course corrections that otherwise would be needed frequently when sailing other kinds of courses. Linear scale is constant on the Mercator in every direction around any point, thus preserving the angles and the shapes of small objects and fulfilling the conditions of a conformal map projection. As a side effect, the Mercator projection inflates the size of objects away from the equator. This inflation is very small near the equator but accelerates with increasing latitude to become infinite at the poles. So, for example, landmasses such as Greenland and Antarctica appear far larger than they actually are relative to landmasses near the equator, such as Central Africa.
A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.
In cartography, a map projection is a way to flatten a globe's surface into a plane in order to make a map. This requires a systematic transformation of the latitudes and longitudes of locations from the surface of the globe into locations on a plane. All projections of a sphere on a plane necessarily distort the surface in some way and to some extent. Depending on the purpose of the map, some distortions are acceptable and others are not; therefore, different map projections exist in order to preserve some properties of the sphere-like body at the expense of other properties. Every distinct map projection distorts in a distinct way, by definition. The study of map projections is the characterization of these distortions. There is no limit to the number of possible map projections. Projections are a subject of several pure mathematical fields, including differential geometry, projective geometry, and manifolds. However, "map projection" refers specifically to a cartographic projection.
The transverse Mercator map projection is an adaptation of the standard Mercator projection. The transverse version is widely used in national and international mapping systems around the world, including the UTM. When paired with a suitable geodetic datum, the transverse Mercator delivers high accuracy in zones less than a few degrees in east-west extent.
The Mollweide projection is an equal-area, pseudocylindrical map projection generally used for global maps of the world or night sky. It is also known as the Babinet projection, homalographic projection, homolographic projection, and elliptical projection. The projection trades accuracy of angle and shape for accuracy of proportions in area, and as such is used where that property is needed, such as maps depicting global distributions.
The scale of a map is the ratio of a distance on the map to the corresponding distance on the ground. This simple concept is complicated by the curvature of the Earth's surface, which forces scale to vary across a map. Because of this variation, the concept of scale becomes meaningful in two distinct ways.
The equirectangular projection is a simple map projection attributed to Marinus of Tyre, who Ptolemy claims invented the projection about AD 100. The projection maps meridians to vertical straight lines of constant spacing, and circles of latitude to horizontal straight lines of constant spacing. The projection is neither equal area nor conformal. Because of the distortions introduced by this projection, it has little use in navigation or cadastral mapping and finds its main use in thematic mapping. In particular, the plate carrée has become a standard for global raster datasets, such as Celestia and NASA World Wind, because of the particularly simple relationship between the position of an image pixel on the map and its corresponding geographic location on Earth.
The sinusoidal projection is a pseudocylindrical equal-area map projection, sometimes called the Sanson–Flamsteed or the Mercator equal-area projection. Jean Cossin of Dieppe was one of the first mapmakers to use the sinusoidal, appearing in a world map of 1570.
In cartography, the Lambert cylindrical equal-area projection, or Lambert cylindrical projection, is a cylindrical equal-area projection. This projection is undistorted along the equator, which is its standard parallel, but distortion increases rapidly towards the poles. Like any cylindrical projection, it stretches parallels increasingly away from the equator. The poles accrue infinite distortion, becoming lines instead of points.
The Winkel tripel projection, a modified azimuthal map projection of the world, is one of three projections proposed by German cartographer Oswald Winkel in 1921. The projection is the arithmetic mean of the equirectangular projection and the Aitoff projection: The name tripel refers to Winkel's goal of minimizing three kinds of distortion: area, direction, and distance.
The Hammer projection is an equal-area map projection described by Ernst Hammer in 1892. Using the same 2:1 elliptical outer shape as the Mollweide projection, Hammer intended to reduce distortion in the regions of the outer meridians, where it is extreme in the Mollweide.
The Kavrayskiy VII projection is a map projection invented by Soviet cartographer Vladimir V. Kavrayskiy in 1939 for use as a general-purpose pseudocylindrical projection. Like the Robinson projection, it is a compromise intended to produce good-quality maps with low distortion overall. It scores well in that respect compared to other popular projections, such as the Winkel tripel, despite straight, evenly spaced parallels and a simple formulation. Regardless, it has not been widely used outside the former Soviet Union.
Wagner VI is a pseudocylindrical whole Earth map projection. Like the Robinson projection, it is a compromise projection, not having any special attributes other than a pleasing, low distortion appearance. Wagner VI is equivalent to the Kavrayskiy VII horizontally elongated by a factor of ⁄. This elongation results in proper preservation of shapes near the equator but slightly more distortion overall. The aspect ratio of this projection is 2:1, as formed by the ratio of the equator to the central meridian. This matches the ratio of Earth’s equator to any meridian.
In cartography, the cylindrical equal-area projection is a family of cylindrical, equal-area map projections.
The Eckert IV projection is an equal-area pseudocylindrical map projection. The length of the polar lines is half that of the equator, and lines of longitude are semiellipses, or portions of ellipses. It was first described by Max Eckert in 1906 as one of a series of three pairs of pseudocylindrical projections. Within each pair, meridians are the same whereas parallels differ. Odd-numbered projections have parallels spaced equally, whereas even-numbered projections have parallels spaced to preserve area. Eckert IV is paired with Eckert III.
The Eckert II projection is an equal-area pseudocylindrical map projection. In the equatorial aspect the network of longitude and latitude lines consists solely of straight lines, and the outer boundary has the distinctive shape of an elongated hexagon. It was first described by Max Eckert in 1906 as one of a series of three pairs of pseudocylindrical projections. Within each pair, the meridians have the same shape, and the odd-numbered projection has equally spaced parallels, whereas the even-numbered projection has parallels spaced to preserve area. The pair to Eckert II is the Eckert I projection.
The central cylindrical projection is a perspective cylindrical map projection. It corresponds to projecting the Earth's surface onto a cylinder tangent to the equator as if from a light source at Earth's center. The cylinder is then cut along one of the projected meridians and unrolled into a flat map.
The natural Earth projection is a pseudocylindrical map projection designed by Tom Patterson and introduced in 2012. It is neither conformal nor equal-area.
This map features the Winkel Tripel projection to reduce distortion of land masses as they near the poles.
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