Natural Earth projection

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Natural Earth projection of the world.
The natural Earth projection with Tissot's indicatrix of deformation

The Natural Earth projection is a pseudocylindrical map projection designed by Tom Patterson and introduced in 2012. It is neither conformal nor equal-area, but a compromise between the two.

It was designed in Flex Projector, a specialized software application that offers a graphical approach for the creation of new projections.[1][2]


The natural Earth is defined by the following formulas:



  • and are the Cartesian coordinates;
  • is the longitude from the central meridian in radians;
  • is the latitude in radians;
  • is the length of the parallel at latitude ;
  • is the distance of the parallel from the equator at latitude .

and are given as polynomials:[3]

In the original definition of the projection, planar coordinates were lineally interpolated from a table of 19 latitudes and then multiplied by other factors. The authors of the projection later provided a polynomial representation that closely matches the original but improves smoothness at the "corners".[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Šavrič, Bojan; Jenny, Bernhard; Patterson, Tom; Petrovič, Dušan; Hurni, Lorenz (February 17, 2012). "A Polynomial Equation for the Natural Earth Projection" (PDF). Oregon State University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  2. ^ Jenny, Bernhard; Patterson, Tom; Hurni, Lorenz (2008). "Flex Projector–Interactive Software for Designing World Map Projections". Cartographic perspectives. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  3. ^ "Natural Earth Projection: Home". Archived from the original on 2012-04-07. Retrieved 2017-02-12. It was originally designed in Flex Projector using graphical methods and now exists as a polynomial version.