[Geowanking] Re: Favorite map projection book?
whuber at quantdec.com
Wed Aug 8 07:39:30 PDT 2007
At 12:00 PM 8/8/2007 +0000 a reader wrote:
>Do any of you have a favorite book on the topic of map projection?
>I'm looking at this one:
>"Map Projections: A Working Manual" John Snyder (394 pages)
>Mark Monmonier's "How to Lie with Maps".
I have long owned all three and use both Bugayevskiy & Snyder (the first
one) and the Snyder manual (the second). (Monmonier's "How to Lie..." is
off topic and just isn't comparable to the first two.)
Snyder clearly describes the properties of several hundred projections. He
includes detailed formulae for projection and inverse projection. An
introductory section describes some of the general theory. The math is at
the level of intermediate calculus (as taught in a traditional, pedestrian
style c. 1950).
Bugayevskiy & Snyder provides more of the general theory. It uses concepts
of elementary differential geometry and advanced calculus, but its language
is decidedly early 19th century, which makes it quite a difficult read. It
has many general formulas for projections, but not in enough detail or
variety to serve as a reference manual like Snyder's book. B&S is more
interested in describing typical projections, especially those used by the
former Soviet Union, and then outlining a course of map projection research.
The Appendices in B&S are, however, quite useful. Appendices 2, 3, and 4
give geometric properties (like radii of curvature) for the GRS 80
ellipsoid in half-degree increments. Appendix 5 tabulates isometric
latitudes for GRS 80. Appendix 6 gives the parameters of common
ellipsoids; radii of a conformal, authalic, and equidistant sphere to match
GRS 80; and a few parameters for Mars, Venus, and the Moon. I'm sure you
can find this stuff on the Web now if you look hard, but it's handy to just
pull this book off a shelf and turn to the back.
Overall, then, if your interest lies in selecting projections,
understanding the properties of a particular projection, or coding
projection and inverse projection transformations, and most of your work is
in the US, then stick with Snyder. If you do a lot of work in the far east
or have a more theoretical inclination, then B&S is worth a look.
BTW, the printed copy of Snyder's manual comes with a nice poster-sized
overview of map projections, "The properties and uses of selected map
projections," by Tau Rho Alpha and John P. Snyder, 1982. It's a good thing
to have on your wall. You might be able to obtain it separately as
"Miscellaneous Investigations Series Map I-1402," for sale by the USGS.
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