December 2, 2006

Is the Mercator projection really dead?

Filed under: map, Projections — ubikcan @ 11:34 am

You often hear it said (by opponents to the Peters world map for example) that the Mercator projection is either dead, or has long been replaced by better alternative projections.

Mark Monmonier often makes this claim. In Mapping it out for example he says that “a Mercator chart has no place as a general reference map” and goes on to show how it distorts area (p. 34).

And at the authoritative About.com site the entry on geography includes the following claim:

The Mercator map was never intended to be used as a wall map and by the time Peters started complaining about it, he was creating a mountain out of a molehill as the Mercator map was well on its way out of fashion.

So with that being said, why do we see it quite so often?

Here at the BBC for example is a suspiciously Mercator looking map to show global distributions, just what Monmonier warned against.


1 Comment »

  1. It looks to be a Miller projection, which has a bit less polar distortion than the Mercator.

    Comment by Andrew McLaren — November 24, 2007 @ 4:14 pm

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