Spatial Math: The Geometry of Map Projections
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Summary: Use GIS to analyze the geometry of map projections.
Objectives: Study and use different types of map projections, understand the characteristics, and the advantages and disadvantages of different map projections.
Map projections are needed in order to “project” or “display” the 3-D earth onto a 2-dimensional map, whether that map is a printed map or shown on a 2-dimensional computer screen. Map projections are based on different geometric shapes. All map projections try to maintain true distance, direction, areas, and shapes, but none can achieve all four of these characteristics. Thus, there are a wide variety of map projections that serve different needs. There is no single “best” map projection. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.