Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Map Projection Assignment


GLOBES: It is a model of the earth. It is a true representation of 4 important properties of the earth because it is the correct shape.

These properties are: 1. Size, 2. Shape, 3. Distance, 4. Direction

Some disadvantages of globes are due to its size. Because globes are small, many details are lost. It is for that reason that maps can be more accurate.

MAP PROJECTIONS: Many Ways of Looking at the World

Over the centuries many different ways of representing the round Earth on flat paper have been developed. Each of these methods is referred to as a map projection. What does it mean to project something? Have you ever been to the movie theatre? How does the movie get on the movie screen? The image you watch on the screen is projected using a high powered light, from the back of the theatre. Now, imagine placing a projector inside of a globe, and projecting the different continents, islands, and other features onto a flat screen. What would the projection look like? This depends on where you place the screen.

Cartographers (map makers) face a huge challenge to minimize distortion when they try to represent a spherical earth on a flat piece of paper. In order to tackle this problem, cartographers have developed various map projections. Because a globe is 3 dimensional and it is difficult to flatten onto a piece of paper, there will never be a perfect representation; these imperfections are called distortions. There are 2 major techniques for projecting the surface area onto maps, they are: conformal map projection (retains the proper shape of surface features. All conformal projections have meridians and parallels crossing each other at right angles) and equivalent map projection (shows the relative sizes of places correctly in all areas of a map – has disfigured shapes; often called the equal-area map).


VISIT: kidsgeo.com – geography (search map projections)


or go to:

Be sure to click on “Chapter Two, Describing Our Planet”.

* Examine the map projections provided on the site. What do you notice about the differences? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each projection?

A. Make jot notes ( and sketch) on the following map projections: cylindrical projection, conic projection, plane projected and interrupted projection.

MAP PROJECTIONS JOT NOTES (Advantages, disadvantages)
Make jot notes and sketch information for the following...

Cylindrical projection

Conic projection

Plane projection

Interrupted projection

Make more jot notes and sketches on the following projections. See the following site:



Mercator projection

Robinson  projection

B. Complete the following questions on map making…
1. What some of the challenges that cartographers face? (examine the information under the subtitle, “Shape Vs. Size – Conformality Vs. Equivalency”)

2. What is a “hybrid map”? What are the benefits?

3. What is remote sensing? How does it map an area without actually going to the location?

4. How are aerial photographs used when mapping?

5. How is infrared sensing used? What are the advantages over aerial photography?

6. Explain how 1 other form of sensing is used.

Discussion Questions:

The earth has been plotted and charted for many years. Do you think there are still new places to discover? Where do you think these locations are? Why would these places be uncharted? How has technology helped us discover new places?

Source Websites: