|The Five Map Projections
The Mercator Projection was one of the first important maps created by Europeans. It was produced by Gerard Mercator, a Flemish mapmaker who lent his name to his famous work.
On such a map, the east-west and north-south lines are straight lines. Because the world is round, this makes for some not-so-accurate geographical representations. Antarctica and Greenland, in particular, look far larger on a Mercator Projection than they are in real life.
The Mercator Projections show direction, but distort size.
The Lambert Projection is a circular map. It shows size accurately at it center, but not distance or shape. It is good for showing the areas around the North or South pole. Most other map projections distort the shape and size of the Arctic and Antarctica.
The Lambert Projection shows Polar areas that other maps distort.
The Robinson Projection is a popular projection because it balances the distortions of size and shape. In this way it gives a fairly accurate picture of the world.
The Goode’s Homolosine projection uses a trick to help us see how the continents compare in size. It snips bits of out of the oceans. This trick allows the continents to stretch without distorting their shapes. But it distorts the shape and size of the oceans.
The Eckert IV projection is an equal area map. Equal-area maps show the sizes of places accurately. However, they distort shape near the poles. This is called shape distortion. Geographers often use Eckert IV projections to show the number of people in different areas.