World map

World map
Historical map of the world by Ortelius, 1570 CE

A world map is a map of the surface of the Earth, which may be made using any of a number of different map projections. A map projection is any method of representing the surface of a sphere or other three-dimensional body on a plane.

Maps of the world are often either 'political' or 'physical'. The most important purpose of the political map is to show territorial borders; the purpose of the physical map is to show features of geography such as mountains, soil type or land use. Geological maps show not only the physical surface, but characteristics of the underlying rock, fault lines, and subsurface structures.



A world map on the Winkel tripel projection, a low-error map projection[1] adopted by the National Geographic Society for reference maps.

Maps that depict the surface of the Earth use a projection, a way of translating the three-dimensional real surface of the geoid to a two-dimensional picture. Perhaps the best-known world-map projection is the Mercator Projection, originally designed as a form of nautical chart.

Aeroplane pilots use aeronautical charts based on a Lambert conformal conic projection, in which a cone is laid over the section of the earth to be mapped. The cone intersects the sphere (the earth) at one or two parallels which are chosen as standard lines. This allows the pilots to plot a great circle (shortest distance) route approximation on a flat, two-dimensional chart.



See also



  1. ^ Large-Scale Distortions in Map Projections, 2007, David M. Goldberg & J. Richard Gott III, 2007, V42 N4.

External links

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