List of map projections
This list/table provides an overview of the most significant map projections, including those listed on Wikipedia. It is sortable by the main fields. Inclusion in the table is subjective, as there is no definitive list of map projections.
Table of projections
= equidistant cylindrical
= la carte parallélogrammatique
|Cylindrical||Equidistant||Marinus of Tyre||120 (c.)||Simplest geometry; distances along meridians are conserved.
Plate carrée: special case having the equator as the standard parallel.
|Cylindrical||Conformal||Gerardus Mercator||1569||Lines of constant bearing (rhumb lines) are straight, aiding navigation. Areas inflate with latitude, becoming so extreme that the map cannot show the poles.|
= Gauss conformal
= (Ellipsoidal) Transverse Mercator
|Cylindrical||Conformal||Carl Friedrich Gauss||1822||This transverse, ellipsoidal form of the Mercator is finite, unlike the equatorial Mercator. Forms the basis of the Universal Transverse Mercator system.|
similar to Braun
|Cylindrical||Compromise||James Gall||1885||Intended to resemble the Mercator while also displaying the poles. Standard parallels at 45°N/S.
Braun is horizontally stretched version with scale correct at equator.
= Miller cylindrical
|Cylindrical||Compromise||Osborn Maitland Miller||1942||Intended to resemble the Mercator while also displaying the poles.|
|Lambert cylindrical equal-area||Cylindrical||Equal-area||Johann Heinrich Lambert||1772||Standard parallel at the equator. Aspect ratio of π (3.14). Base projection of the cylindrical equal-area family.|
|Behrmann||Cylindrical||Equal-area||Walter Behrmann||1910||Horizontally compressed version of the Lambert equal-area. Has standard parallels at 30°N/S and an aspect ratio of 2.36.|
|Hobo-Dyer||Cylindrical||Equal-area||Mick Dyer||2002||Horizontally compressed version of the Lambert equal-area. Very similar are Trystan Edwards and Smyth equal surface (= Craster rectangular) projections with standard parallels at around 37°N/S. Aspect ratio of ~2.0.|
= Gall orthographic
|Cylindrical||Equal-area||James Gall||1855||Horizontally compressed version of the Lambert equal-area. Standard parallels at 45°N/S. Aspect ratio of ~1.6. Similar is Balthasart projection with standard parallels at 50°N/S.|
= Mercator equal-area
|Pseudocylindrical||Equal-area||(Several; first is unknown)||1600
|Meridians are sinusoids; parallels are equally spaced. Aspect ratio of 2:1. Distances along parallels are conserved.|
|Pseudocylindrical||Equal-area||Karl Brandan Mollweide||1805||Meridians are ellipses.|
|Eckert II||Pseudocylindrical||Equal-area||Max Eckert-Greifendorff||1906|
|Eckert IV||Pseudocylindrical||Equal-area||Max Eckert-Greifendorff||1906||Parallels are unequal in spacing and scale; outer meridians are semicircles; other meridians are semiellipses.|
|Eckert VI||Pseudocylindrical||Equal-area||Max Eckert-Greifendorff||1906||Parallels are unequal in spacing and scale; meridians are half-period sinusoids.|
|Goode homolosine||Pseudocylindrical||Equal-area||John Paul Goode||1923||Hybrid of Sinusoidal and Mollweide projections.
Usually used in interrupted form.
|Kavrayskiy VII||Pseudocylindrical||Compromise||Vladimir V. Kavrayskiy||1939||Evenly spaced parallels. Equivalent to Wagner VI horizontally compressed by a factor of .|
|Robinson||Pseudocylindrical||Compromise||Arthur H. Robinson||1963||Computed by interpolation of tabulated values. Used by Rand McNally since inception and used by NGS 1988–98.|
|Natural Earth||Pseudocylindrical||Compromise||Tom Patterson||2011||Computed by interpolation of tabulated values.|
|Tobler hyperelliptical||Pseudocylindrical||Equal-area||Waldo R. Tobler||1973||A family of map projections that includes as special cases Mollweide projection, Collignon projection, and the various cylindrical equal-area projections.|
|Wagner VI||Pseudocylindrical||Compromise||K.H. Wagner||1932||Equivalent to Kavrayskiy VII vertically compressed by a factor of .|
|Collignon||Pseudocylindrical||Equal-Area||Édouard Collignon||1865 (c.)||Depending on configuration, the projection also may map the sphere to a single diamond or a pair of squares.|
|HEALPix||Pseudocylindrical||Equal-area||Krzysztof M. Górski||1997||Hybrid of Collignon + Lambert cylindrical equal-area|
=Reinhold Putniņš P4
|Pseudocylindrical||Equal-area||John Craster||1929||Meridians are parabolas. Standard parallels at 36°46′N/S; parallels are unequal in spacing and scale; 2:1 Aspect.|
= McBryde-Thomas #4
|Pseudocylindrical||Equal-area||Felix W. McBryde, Paul Thomas||1949||Standard parallels at 33°45′N/S; parallels are unequal in spacing and scale; meridians are fourth-order curves. Distortion-free only where the standard parallels intersect the central meridian.|
|Quartic authalic||Pseudocylindrical||Equal-area||Karl Siemon
|Parallels are unequal in spacing and scale. No distortion along the equator. Meridians are fourth-order curves.|
|The Times||Pseudocylindrical||Compromise||John Muir||1965||Standard parallels 45°N/S. Parallels based on Gall orthographic, but with curved meridians. Developed for Bartholomew Ltd., The Times Atlas.|
|Loximuthal||Pseudocylindrical||Karl Siemon, Waldo Tobler||1935, 1966||From the designated centre, lines of constant bearing (rhumb lines/loxodromes) are straight and have the correct length. Generally asymmetric about the equator.|
|Aitoff||Pseudoazimuthal||Compromise||David A. Aitoff||1889||Stretching of modified equatorial azimuthal equidistant map. Boundary is 2:1 ellipse. Largely superseded by Hammer.|
variations: Briesemeister; Nordic
|Pseudoazimuthal||Equal-area||Ernst Hammer||1892||Modified from azimuthal equal-area equatorial map. Boundary is 2:1 ellipse. Variants are oblique versions, centred on 45°N.|
|Winkel tripel||Pseudoazimuthal||Compromise||Oswald Winkel||1921||Arithmetic mean of the equirectangular projection and the Aitoff projection. Standard world projection for the NGS 1998–present.|
|Van der Grinten||Other||Compromise||Alphons J. van der Grinten||1904||Boundary is a circle. All parallels and meridians are circular arcs. Usually clipped near 80°N/S. Standard world projection of the NGS 1922-88.|
|Equidistant conic projection
= simple conic
|Conic||Equidistant||Based on Ptolemy’s 1st Projection||100 (c.)||Distances along meridians are conserved, as is distance along one or two standard parallels|
|Lambert conformal conic||Conic||Conformal||Johann Heinrich Lambert||1772|
|Albers conic||Conic||Equal-Area||Heinrich C. Albers||1805||Two standard parallels with low distortion between them.|
|Werner||Pseudoconical||Equal-area||Johannes Stabius||1500 (c.)||Distances from the North Pole are correct as are the curved distances along parallels.|
|Bonne||Pseudoconical, cordiform||Equal-area||Bernardus Sylvanus||1511||Parallels are equally spaced circular arcs and standard lines. Appearance depends on reference parallel. General case of both Werner and sinusoidal|
|Bottomley||Pseudoconical||Equal-area||Henry Bottomley||2003||Alternative to the Bonne projection with simpler overall shape
Parallels are elliptical arcs
|American polyconic||Pseudoconical||Ferdinand Rudolph Hassler||1820 (c.)||Distances along the parallels are preserved as are distances along the central meridian.|
|Azimuthal||Equidistant||Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī||1000 (c.)||Used by the USGS in the National Atlas of the United States of America.
Distances from centre are conserved.
|Gnomonic||Azimuthal||Gnonomic||Thales (possibly)||580 BC (c.)||All great circles map to straight lines. Extreme distortion far from the center. Shows less than one hemisphere.|
|Lambert azimuthal equal-area||Azimuthal||Equal-Area||Johann Heinrich Lambert||1772||The straight-line distance between the central point on the map to any other point is the same as the straight-line 3D distance through the globe between the two points.|
|Stereographic||Azimuthal||Conformal||Hipparchos (deployed)||200 BC (c.)||Map is infinite in extent with outer hemisphere inflating severely, so it is often used as two hemispheres. Maps all small circles to circles, which is useful for planetary mapping to preserve the shapes of craters.|
|Orthographic||Azimuthal||Hipparchos (deployed)||200 BC (c.)||View from an infinite distance.|
|Vertical perspective||Azimuthal||Matthias Seutter (deployed)||1740||View from a finite distance. Can only display less than a hemisphere.|
|Two-point equidistant||Azimuthal||Equidistant||Hans Maurer||1919||Two "control points" can almost be arbitrarily chosen. The two straight-line distances from any point on the map to the two control points are correct.|
|Peirce quincuncial||Other||Conformal||Charles Sanders Peirce||1879|
|Guyou hemisphere-in-a-square projection||Other||Conformal||Émile Guyou||1887|
|Adams hemisphere-in-a-square projection||Other||Conformal||Oscar Sherman Adams||1925|
|B.J.S. Cahill's Butterfly Map||Polyhedral||Compromise||Bernard Joseph Stanislaus Cahill||1909||Projects the globe onto an octahedron with symmetrical components and contiguous landmasses that may be displayed in various arrangements|
|Cahill-Keyes projection||Polyhedral||Compromise||Gene Keyes||1975||Projects the globe onto a truncated octahedron with symmetrical components and contiguous land masses|
|Waterman butterfly projection||Polyhedral||Compromise||Steve Waterman||1996||Projects the globe onto a truncated octahedron with symmetrical components and contiguous land masses that may be displayed in various arrangements|
|Quadrilateralized spherical cube||Polyhedral||Equal-area||F. Kenneth Chan, E. M. O’Neill||1973|
|Dymaxion map||Polyhedral||Compromise||Buckminster Fuller||1943||Also known as a Fuller Projection.|
|Myriahedral projections||Polyhedral||Jarke J. van Wijk||2008||Projects the globe onto a myriahedron: a polyhedron with a very large number of faces.|
|Retroazimuthal||James Ireland Craig||1909|
|Hammer retroazimuthal, front hemisphere||Retroazimuthal||Ernst Hammer||1910|
|Hammer retroazimuthal, back hemisphere||Retroazimuthal||Ernst Hammer||1910|
|Littrow||Retroazimuthal||Joseph Johann Littrow||1833|
The designation "deployed" means popularisers/users rather than necessarily creators. The type of projection and the properties preserved by the projection use the following categories:
Type of projection
- Cylindrical: In standard presentation, these map regularly-spaced meridians to equally spaced vertical lines, and parallels to horizontal lines.
- Pseudocylindrical: In standard presentation, these map the central meridian and parallels as straight lines. Other meridians are curves (or possibly straight from pole to equator), regularly spaced along parallels.
- Pseudoazimuthal: In standard presentation, pseudoazimuthal projections map the equator and central meridian to perpendicular, intersecting straight lines. They map parallels to complex curves bowing away from the equator, and meridians to complex curves bowing in toward the central meridian. Listed here after pseudocylindrical as generally similar to them in shape and purpose.
- Conic: In standard presentation, conic (or conical) projections map meridians as straight lines, and parallels as arcs of circles.
- Pseudoconical: In standard presentation, pseudoconical projections represent the central meridian as a straight line, other meridians as complex curves, and parallels as circular arcs.
- Azimuthal: In standard presentation, azimuthal projections map meridians as straight lines and parallels as complete, concentric circles. They are radially symmetrical. In any presentation (or aspect), they preserve directions from the center point. This means great circles through the central point are represented by straight lines on the map.
- Other: Typically calculated from formula, and not based on a particular projection
- Polyhedral maps: Polyhedral maps can be folded up into a polyhedral approximation to the sphere, using particular projection to map each face with low distortion.
- Retroazimuthal: Direction to a fixed location B (by the shortest route) corresponds to the direction on the map from A to B.
- Conformal: Preserves angles locally, implying that locally shapes are not distorted.
- Equal Area: Areas are conserved.
- Compromise: Neither conformal or equal-area, but a balance intended to reduce overall distortion.
- Equidistant: All distances from one (or two) points are correct. Other equidistant properties are mentioned in the notes.
- Gnomonic: All great circles are straight lines.
- James P. Snyder (1987), Map Projections—A Working Manual: USGS Professional Paper 1395, Washington: Government Printing Office. http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/pp1395 .