Van der Grinten projection

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Van der Grinten projection of the world
The Van der Grinten projection with Tissot's indicatrix of deformation

The van der Grinten projection is a compromise map projection, which means that it is neither equal-area nor conformal. Unlike perspective projections, the van der Grinten projection is an arbitrary geometric construction on the plane. Van der Grinten projects the entire Earth into a circle. It largely preserves the familiar shapes of the Mercator projection while modestly reducing Mercator's distortion. Polar regions are subject to extreme distortion. Lines of longitude converge to points at the poles.[1]


Alphons J. van der Grinten invented the projection in 1898 and received US patent #751,226 for it and three others in 1904.[2] The National Geographic Society adopted the projection for their reference maps of the world in 1922, raising its visibility and stimulating its adoption elsewhere. In 1988, National Geographic replaced the van der Grinten projection with the Robinson projection.[1]

Geometric construction[edit]

The geometric construction given by van der Grinten can be written algebraically:[3]

where x takes the sign of λλ0, y takes the sign of φ, and

If φ = 0, then

Similarly, if λ = λ0 or φ = ±π/2, then

In all cases, φ is the latitude, λ is the longitude, and λ0 is the central meridian of the projection.

Van der Grinten IV projection[edit]

The van der Grinten IV projection is a later polyconic map projection developed by Alphons J. van der Grinten. The central meridian and equator are straight lines. All other meridians and parallels are arcs of circles.[4][5][6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Flattening the Earth: Two Thousand Years of Map Projections, John P. Snyder, 1993, pp. 258–262, ISBN 0-226-76747-7.
  2. ^ A Bibliography of Map Projections, John P. Snyder and Harry Steward, 1989, p. 94, US Geological Survey Bulletin 1856.
  3. ^ Map Projections – A Working Manual Archived 2010-07-01 at the Wayback Machine, USGS Professional Paper 1395, John P. Snyder, 1987, pp. 239–242.
  4. ^ "Van der Grinten IV Projection".
  5. ^ "An Album of Map Projections". p. 205.
  6. ^ "van der Grinten IV".