Accidental map projections

Oops, this isn’t what an azimuthal equidistant map projection is supposed to look like.
Azimuthal equidistant projection mistake

I’ve been working (occasionally fighting) with map projections a lot recently, pumping latitude and longitude coordinates through equations that mathemagically shape the world. Occasionally a small error in a projection equation results in an incorrect but fascinating map. So why not try deliberately introducing some errors and see what happens? Here are some maps I created by tossing random modifications into ordinary map projection equations.

Take a simple plate carrée projection, and give it a couple of twists.
Twisted plate carrée map projection

Winkel Tripel becomes some sort of beverage vessel.
Winkel Tripel snifter projection

There’s a certain elegance to this one, an Albers equal area conic projection, also with a couple of twists.
Twisted Albers projection

We can also take that a bit further.
More twisted Albers projection

Put some ripples in this (very modified) sinusoidal map projection.
Wavy sinusoidal projection

My favorite, a warped polyconic projection.
Warped polyconic projection

But most of the time, messing with a projection just breaks the world.
Screwed up projection

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  1. Some days I feel like we live in that last one. Also, I propose that you call it the Baphomet Projection.

    Jon McCann
    8 May 2009 @ 1:31am

  2. Andy –

    What a great post for a Friday morning! Thanks.

    Jon Peltier
    8 May 2009 @ 6:27am

  3. That warped polyconic projection would be very useful for maps about climate change – putting the poles centre-stage.

    7 June 2009 @ 3:40pm

  4. hmmm… the last picture looked a lot like a star sign.
    don’t you people think so?

    5 October 2009 @ 5:44am

  5. I love that Albers Equal Area (with twists) one.

    Paulo Raposo
    28 February 2010 @ 9:00pm

  6. the last one is clearly the best. The most evil projection evarrrr!

    \m/ O.o \m/

    Alex Yule
    13 April 2010 @ 5:03pm

  7. The last one looks like that wretched Circle of Friends third-party app on Facebook. For someone who has 500+ friends.

    Ellie K
    12 August 2010 @ 3:27am

  8. He he, these are funny, i agree, the wared 1 puts the poles center stage and the breaks the world thing i think could b called the present

    22 September 2010 @ 10:26pm

  9. I’m setting up my sister’s blog and would love to use one of your projections for her banner. Will that be okay? It’s a personal blog.

    25 July 2012 @ 12:15am