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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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map projections

Map Projections

A map projection is used to portray all or part of the round Earth on a flat surface. This cannot be done without some distortion.  Every projection has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. There is no “best” projection.  The mapmaker must select the one best suited to the needs, reducing distortion of the most important features.  Mapmakers and mathematicians have devised almost limitless ways to project the image of the globe onto paper. Scientists at the U. S. Geological Survey have designed projections for their specific needs—such as the Space Oblique Mercator, which allows mapping from satellites with little or no distortion.  This document gives the key properties, characteristics, and preferred uses of many historically important projections and of those frequently used by mapmakers today.

Source: egsc.usgs.gov

This article chronicles 18 map projections, how they are mathematically rendered with their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. 

Questions to Ponder:  Why do map projections matter?  Is one global map projection inherently better than the rest?  What is your favorite?  

Tags: Mapping, visualization, map projections, cartography, perspective.

Why Map Projections Matter

Source: www.youtube.com

This is a clip from the TV show West Wing (Season 2-Episode 16) is a classic–how often does cartography plays a key role in the plot of a TV show?  In this episode the fictitious (but still on Facebook) group named “the Organization of Cartographers for Social Justice” is campaigning to have the President officially endorse the Gall-Peters Projection in schools and denounce the Mercator projection.  The argument being that children will grow up thinking some places are not as important because they are minimized by the map projection.  While a bit comical, the cartographic debate is quite informative even if it was designed to appear as though the issue was trivial. 

Questions to Ponder:  Why do map projections matter?  Is one global map projection inherently better than the rest?  

Tags: Mapping, video, visualization, map projections, cartography, perspective.

Cartographic Anomalies: How Map Projections Have Shaped Our Perceptions of the World

Elizabeth Borneman explores how cartography and cartographic projections help and hinder our perception of the world.

“How do you think the world (starting with our perceptions) could change if the map looked differently? What if Australia was on top and the hemispheres switched? By changing how we look at a map we truly can begin to explore and change our assumptions about the world we live in.”

Geography doesn’t just teach us about the Earth; it provides ways for thinking about the Earth that shapes how we see the world.  Maps do the same; they represent a version of reality and that influences how we think about places. 

Tags: mapping, perspective.

Source: www.gislounge.com

Why do Map Projections Matter?

This is a clip from the TV show West Wing (Season 2-Episode 16) where cartography plays a key role in the plot.  In this episode the fictitious (but still on Facebook) group named “the Organization of Cartographers for Social Justice” is campaigning to have the President officially endorse the Gall-Peters Projection in schools and denounce the Mercator projection.  The argument being that children will grow up thinking some places are not as important because they are minimized by the map projection.

As Salvatore Natoli (a leader in geography education) was quoted in the video clip: “In our society we unconsciously equate size with importance and even power.” This is one reason why many people have underestimated the true size of Africa relative to places that they view as more important or more powerful.

Questions to PonderWhy do map projections matter?  Is one global map projection inherently better than the rest? 

true-size-of-africa

A world of projections

Welcome, Metafilter visitors! How can you map a sphere unto the plane? well you can’t if you want to keep size, shape and proportions. Here are the alternatives… Learn more about the different projections.

Seth Dixon, Ph.D.‘s insight:

We are accustomed to spatial distortion in maps; when we see that same distortion on a picture, it gives us an alternative perspective on the level of spatial distortion that we see on maps.  The Azimuthal (circular) projections are my favorite for this photographic project.   

Tagsmapping, cartography, perspective, map.

See on www.flickr.com

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Mercator’s 500th birthday: ArcGIS Resource Center

Via Scoop.itGeography Education

While the web mapping world still relies too much on the Mercator projection for my preference, it is a testament to the enduring impact that his ideas have had in literally shaping our World.  When discussing map projections, this article has some valuable materials. 
Via blogs.esri.com

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