Selecting Map Projections in Minimizing Area Distortions in GIS Applications


SENSORS, vol.8, no.12, pp.7809-7817, 2008 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 8 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/s8127809
  • Journal Name: SENSORS
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.7809-7817
  • Keywords: GIS, TM, UTM, Area distortion, Equal-area projection, EQUAL-AREA
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: No


Various software for Geographical Information Systems (GISs) have been developed and used in many different engineering projects. In GIS applications, map coverage is important in terms of performing reliable and meaningful queries. Map projections can be conformal, equal-area and equidistant. The goal of an application plays an important role in choosing one of those projections. Choosing the equal-area projection for an application in which area information is used (forestry, agriculture, ecosystem etc) reduces the amount of distortion on the area, but many users using GIS ignore this fact and continue to use applications with present map sheets no matter in what map projection it is. For example, extracting area information from data whose country system's map sheet is in conformal projection is relatively more distorted, compared to an equal-area projection one. The goal of this study is to make the best decision in choosing the most proper equal-area projection among the choices provided by ArcGIS 9.0, which is a popular GIS software package, and making a comparison on area errors when conformal projection is used. In this study, the area of parcels chosen in three different regions and geographic coordinates and whose sizes vary between 0.01 to 1,000,000 ha are calculated according to Transversal Mercator (TM, 3 degrees), Universal Transversal Mercator (UTM, 6 degrees) and 14 different equal-area projections existing in the ArcGIS 9.0 GIS software package. The parcel areas calculated with geographical coordinates are accepted as definite. The difference between the sizes calculated according to projection coordinates and real sizes of the parcels are determined. Consequently, the appropriate projections are decided for the