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I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Map Projection Concepts &

Use in RS and GIS

We think of the shape of

earth as a sphere

It is actually an ellipsoidal, slightly larger

in radius at the equator than at the poles

Ashutosh Bhardwaj
Scientist/Engineer-SE, PRSD (RSGG)
Ashutosh@iirs.gov.in
10/20/2015

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

OUTLINE

How to Represent of 3D surface of the

Earth on 2D Paper.

QUESTIONS

John P. Snyder:

Every map user and maker should have a basic

understanding of projections no matter how much
computers seem to have automated the process.

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Necessity

Creating spatial data

GIS and overlay
data from multiple sources
Use for specific purpose

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Basic Definitions

Geodesy - the shape of the earth and definition of earth

datum
Map Projection - the transformation of a curved surface of
earth to a flat map
Coordinate systems - (x,y) coordinate systems for map data

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Types of Coordinate Systems

(1) Global Cartesian coordinates (x,y,z) for the
whole earth
(2) Geographic coordinates (, z)
(3) Projected coordinates (x, y, z) on a local area
of the earths surface

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Global Cartesian Coordinates (x,y,z)

Z
Greenwich
Meridian

X
Equator

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Geographic Coordinates (, z)

Latitude () and Longitude () defined using an

ellipsoid, an ellipse rotated about an axis
Elevation (z) defined using geoid, a surface of
constant gravitational potential

Geographic / Spherical Coordinate System

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO DATUM

(Representation of a point)
Horizontal (ELLIPSOID): The datum for horizontal
control.
Vertical (Geoid): The datum for vertical control.

India uses Everest Ellipsoid.

With the help of artificial satellites, earth has been observed
as a whole and WGS 84 is the best fit surface for the entire
globe.

Name
Everest(1830)
Airy (1830)
WGS 84

a (m)
6377301
6377563
6378137

b (m)
6356100
6356257
6356752

1/f
300.8017
299.32
298.257

Used in
India
Britain
Global

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Limitations of Everest Ellipsoid

-

The center of the Everest ellipsoid does not coincide with the
center of earth and is not the best fit for the globe.

At present, to use GPS coordinates with topographical maps,

these need to be transformed to Everest ellipsoid from WGS84.

For such transformation of coordinates, 7 transformation

parameters are needed. SOI has taken up a project to find
these parameters.

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

A map projection is a means of representing the lines of latitude and

longitude of the globe on a flat sheet of paper.
To produce a map of the world or part of it, we make use of map
projections.
Map projection is transformation between curved reference
surface of the Earth & the flat plane of the map (Transformation of
3D Space onto a 2D map).
Map projection can also be defined as a set of equations which
allows us to transform a set of
Geographic coordinates
(Longitude, Latitude) to Cartesian Coordinates of the two
dimensional surface of Earth
J.A. Steers: "a systematic drawing of parallels of latitude and meridians of
longitudes on a plane surface for the whole earth or a part of it on a
certain scale so that any point on the earth surface may correspond to that
on the drawing."

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

map projection equations:

X, Y = f ( , )
Forward equation(Geographic to
Cartesian)
, = f ( X,Y ) Inverse equation
Map projection equation are complicated. John P
Synder book titled Map Projection Used by US
Geological Survey gives complete overview of most of
these equations.
Most of GIS softwares have modules to transform the
map from one projection system to another based on
these equations. As a user, one must have general
understanding of map projection concepts and
properties and limitation of a projection system.

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

The transformation from the curved surface of the Earth to

the flat plane of the map is never completed successfully.

Distortion after flattening

a curved surface.

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Earth to Globe to Map

Map Scale:

Map Projection:

Representative Fraction

Scale Factor

=Globe distance
Earth distance
(e.g. 1:24,000)

= Map distance
Globe
distance
(e.g. 0.9996)

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

The concept of projecting is required to express three

dimensional space as a two dimensional map.
One easy way to understand is visualize projecting a light
through the Earth onto a surface.

Note: Only a few map projections are actually produced by direct

projection.

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Projection Properties
On the globe, places and areas contain the properties of shape, area, direction and distance.
A projection may retain one or two of these but not all, and specifically NOT both area and
shape.
a. Area(equal area or equivalent): correct earth surface area (Albers Equal Area)
b. Shape (conformal or orthomorphic): local angles are shown correctly (LCC:
Lambert Conformal Conic)
c. Distance (equidistant): all directions are shown correctly relative to the center (Lambert
Azimuthal Equal Area, Plate Carree, Sinusoidal, Werner cordiform, equidistant conic).
d. Direction (azimuth): maps are circular and not rectangular. E.g.: Gnomonic,
stereographic, perspective, and orthographic projections all azimuthal projections.
Some projections preserve two properties
Some projections preserve none of the above but attempt to minimize distortions in all
four
The degree and kinds of distortion vary with the projection used. Some projections are
suited for mapping large areas that are mainly north-south in extent, others for large areas
that are mainly east-west in extent.

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Types of Projections
Equal Area: maintains accurate relative sizes. Used for maps that show
distributions or other phenomena where showing area accurately is
important. Examples: Lambert Azimuthal Equal-Area, the Albers Equal-Area
Conic.
Conformal: maintains angular relationships and accurate shapes over small
areas. Used where angular relationships are important, such as for
navigational or meteorological charts. Examples: Mercator, Lambert
Conformal Conic.
Equidistant: maintains accurate distances from the center of the projection
or along given lines. Used for radio and seismic mapping, and for
Azimuthal or Zenithal: maintains accurate directions (and therefore angular
relationships) from a given central point. Used for aeronautical charts and
other maps where directional relationships are important. Examples:
Gnomonic projection, Lambert Azimuthal Equal-Area.

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Classification
Based on Extrinsic property
(property of Projection Surface Vs Datum Surface)

Nature/Class:
A)

Coincidence:

Plane, Cone, Cylinder

Tangent, Secant, Polysuperficial

Position/Aspect:
Normal, Transverse, Oblique
Or (Polar, Equatorial, oblique)

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Projection can also be defined as class (i.e.

azimuthal, cylindrical or conical) and (i.e.
normal, transverse, oblique).
Conic
Cy1
Az

Normal

Oblique

Transverse

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Conic (Albers Equal Area, Lambert Conformal

Conic) - good for East-West land areas
Cylindrical (Transverse Mercator) - good for
North-South land areas
Azimuthal (Lambert Azimuthal Equal Area) - good
for global views

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Classification
B)

contd.

(Cartographic property & mode of generation)

Property of Projection:
Equidistant
Conformal

or Orthomorphic
Equivalent or Equal area

Generation:
Geometric,

Semi Geometric, Mathematical

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Classification of Map Projections on different basis

Basis
1. Method of
Construction

Classes

1. Perspective
2. Non-perspective
2. Preserved qualities 1. Homolographic / Equal Area
2. Orthomorphic / Conformal
3. Developable
1. Cylindrical
surface area
2. Conical
3. Azimuthal / Zenithal
4. Conventional
4. Position of tangent 1. Polar
surface
2. Equation/Normal
5. Position of
viewpoint or light

3. Oblique
1. Gnomonic
2. Stereographic
3. Orthographic
4. Others

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

SCALE DISTORTION

It is impossible to project the Earth on a piece of

paper without location distortions.
No scale distortion

No scale distortion

No scale distortion

Most distortion
Most distortion

Most distortion

Most distortion
Earth surface

Earth surface

It is important to know the extent to which the

scale varies on map.

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

CONIC PROJECTION
(Albers, Lambert)

For a conic projection, the projection surface is cone shaped

Locations are projected onto the surface of the cone which is
then unwrapped and laid flat
Conic projections were used for mid Latitude countries.
Normal conic projection are characterised by their arcs of
concentric circles for the parallels and equally spaced straight
lines for the meridians.

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Lambert Conformal Conic Projection

Conical, Conformal
Parallels are concentric arcs
Meridians are straight lines cutting parallels at right
angles.
Scale is true along two standard parallels,
normally, or along just one.
It projects a great circle as a straight line much
better than Mercator
Used for maps of countries and regions with
predominant east west expanse
Used for plane coordinate system (SPCS) in USA

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Albers (Conic)

Shape

Shape along the standard parallels is accurate and minimally

distorted in the region between the standard parallels and those
regions just beyond. The 90-degree angles between meridians
and parallels are preserved, but because the scale along the lines
of longitude does not match the scale along lines of latitude, the
final projection is not conformal.
Area
All areas are proportional to the same areas on the Earth.
Direction
Locally true along the standard parallels.
Distance Distances are best in the middle latitudes. Along parallels, scale
is reduced between the standard parallels and increased beyond
them. Along meridians, scale follows an opposite pattern.

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Polyconic Projection

In this projection all parallels are projected without any

distortion
Scale is exact along each parallel and central meridian.
Parallels are arcs of circles but are not concentric.
It is neither conformal nor equal area.
Central meridian and equator are straight lines; all other
meridians are curves.
Central Meridian cuts all parallels at 90 degrees
Free of distortion only along the central meridian.
It has rolling fit with adjacent sheets in EW direction.
Used in India for all topographical mapping on 1:250,000
and larger scales.

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Three partial equidistant conic maps, each based on a different

standard parallel, therefore wrapped on a different tangent cone
(shown on the right with a quarter removed plus tangency parallels).
When the number of cones increases to infinity, each strip infinitesimally
narrow, the result is a continuous polyconic projection
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I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

POLYCONIC PROJECTION

Class : Neither Conformal nor equal area.

Projection principle : It consists of many (poly)
cones involved. The cones are tangent to each
parallel, so that meridians are curved & parallels are
also curved.

Polyconic Projection
Conic Projection
Uses :- 1. All topographic maps in India are in Polyconic Projection.
2. Used for large scale mapping of USA till 1950 only.
3. Not a suitable projection for digital environment due to
problem of rolling fit .

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

All topographical maps on scale 1:25,000 ; 1:50,000 and

1:250,000 are prepared on Polyconic Projection.
Projection Parameters of Polyconic Projection are :
Longitude of Origin
.
Latitude of Origin
.
False Easting
.
False Northing
.
Scale Reduction Factor
.
For each SOI map sheet, the center of map has been taken
as origin. It means each sheet is being projected
individually and is having identical coordinates of corner
points.
Hence these maps can not be joined seamlessly in digital
environment.

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

-

Since each topographical map sheet is projected

independently with origin at the center of the map, two or
more digital map sheets cannot be joined seamlessly, unless
they are transformed to some common coordinate systems.
Shapes of the maps is trapezoidal therefore even the raster
maps cannot be joined in multiple directions.
Distortions increases as the distance from central meridian
increases.
Not suitable for digital environment. USGS used this
projection for their topo sheets till 1957 only.

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Azimuthal Projections
(Lambert)

For an azimuthal, or planar projection, locations are

projected forward onto a flat plane.
The normal aspect for these projections is the North or
South Pole.

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Cylindrical Projections
(Mercator)

Transverse

Tangent

Secant
Oblique
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CYLINDERICAL MAP PROJECTION

These are made by projecting from the globe onto the surface of an
enclosing cylinder, & then unwrapping the cylinder to make a flat surface
Mercator
Transverse Mercator
Parallels & Meridians are straight line intersecting at 90 deg. It is conformal
i.e. direction are true. Areas/distances are exaggerated near poles.
Since directions are true it was used for navigational purpose since 16th
century. Now often inappropriately used as world map (as pole & equator
are of same size).
Cylinder

-180

+180
+90
0
-90

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Cylindrical Projections

The normal aspect for cylindrical projections assumes that the

cylinder is tangent to the globe along the Equator. In this orientation,
the graticule appears as a rectangular grid.
In the tangent case, the Equator is true to scale and distortion
increases with distance from the Equator.
In the secant case, the standard parallels which lie equidistant north
and south of the Equator are true to scale and distortion increases
with distance from the standard lines.

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I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Mercator Projection

Shape
Area

Direction

Distance

Meridians are
equally spaced
straight lines
Parallels are
unequally spaced
straight lines
Great distortion of
area in polar region

Conformal. Small shapes are well represented because this projection

maintains the local angular relationships.
Increasingly distorted toward the polar regions. For example, in the
Mercator projection, although Greenland is only one-eighth the size of
South America, Greenland appears to be larger.
Any straight line drawn on this projection represents an actual compass
bearing. These true direction lines are rhumb lines, and generally do not
describe the shortest distance between points.
Scale is true along the Equator, or along the secant latitudes.

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Transverse Mercator Projection

Cylindrical (Transverse)
Conformal
Central meridian and equator are straight lines
Other meridians and parallels are complex
curves
Used extensively for quadrangle maps at scales
from 1:24,000 to 1:250,000
For areas with larger north-south extent than
east-west extent

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I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

UTM projection is now widely used projection for

topographical mapping purposes.
It is conformal cylindrical projection.
It covers almost entire world (80o S to 84o N) in 60 zones
of 6o Longitude.
Reference Latitude (o), is the equator.
Each zone has its own Central Meridian.
Each zone has its own Cartesian coordinate system.

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Every place on earth falls in a particular zone

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Advantages: Good for small areas, minimal map distortion. distortion greater at edge of zones

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N
Oblique Mapmaker selects
Any point of tangency
Except along Equator
Or at pole

Plane of
Projection
Equator

PolesMapmaker selects
North or South Pole

EquatorialMapmaker selects
Central meridian

GNOMONIC PROJECTION

STEREOGRAPHIC PROJECTION

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

-

Digital map data can also be stored in Geographic

coordinates i.e. Latitude and Longitude

Geographic coordinate system is becoming more popular in

digital environment where contiguous maps are displayed
on screen and measurements can be made in meters
(UTM) in most of GIS software.

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Choosing a map Projection

The choice of map projection is made to give the
most accurate possible representation of the
geographic information, given that some distortion
is inevitable. The choice depends on:
The location
Shape
Size of the region to be mapped
The theme or purpose of the map

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I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Open Series Maps

Defense Series Maps
Switchover from Everest Co-ordinate System to
Geocentric Co-ordinate System (ITRF). ITRF / GRS 80
ellipsoid.
Survey of India took a conscious decision to go for
Geocentric Reference Frame.
OSM Series:
Polyconic / Everest UTM / WGS84
DSM Series:
Polyconic / Everest LCC / WGS84

I N D I A N I N S T I T U T E O F R E M O T E S E N S I N G, D E H R A D U N

Conclusions

We need to project geospatial data for any analysis

Makes it possible to use data from different sources
Several Projections to choose from
Projections inevitably distorts at least one property
Can choose suitable Map Projection
Can control scale error

Contact Details of the Faculty:

Email- ashutosh@iirs.gov.in
Tel- 0135-2524117