The Makings of Cartography: Comparing Projections

Two maps side by side showing Germany and Ontario in country-specific custom Albers Equal Area Conic projections.

Projections are important for all cartographers to consider, and in this assignment, I design maps of Germany and Ontario on ArcGIS according to custom equal area projections.

(Click to enlarge image)

Projections are important for all cartographers to consider, and this week I was tasked with editing and comparing projection types on ArcGIS to make a map of Germany and Ontario.

Albers Equal Area Conic

On the map of Germany, I am using the Europe Albers Equal Area Conic, this kind of projection best preserves the area of European countries as the standard parallels and meridian cross through the European continent. The "conic" in the name describes the developable surface in this projection, which is a cone. In order to center my map on North America, I have adjusted the North American Albers Equal Area Conic projection to better fit Ontario, thus creating the "Ontario Albers Equal Area Conic" projection. For this projection, I have changed the two standard parallels to 56 degrees and 42 degrees and central meridian to -86 degrees (which is at the center of Ontario).

Here are some skills I picked up through this week’s project:
  • Created a map comparing the area and projected coordinate systems of Germany and Ontario on ArcGIS
  • Edited the standard parallels and central meridian of a projected coordinate system in ArcGIS to better match map needs to smaller scale