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- Basic geodesy
- Map projection
- Reference systems
Mapping involves:
- Determining the geographic locations of features on the earth
- Transforming these locations into positions on a flat map
through use of a map projection
- Graphically symbolizing these features.

Geographic locations are specified by geographic

coordinates called:
- latitude
- longitude
Therefore, to establish a system of geographic coordinates for
the earth, we 1st must know its shape and size.

Why we need coordinate system?

To give a valuable result for spatial analysis or cartographic
compilation and produce trusted maps.
Earth is viewed as being an
evenly round ball. This is
called a Sphere.

From an imaginary centre of

the Earth, calculations are
made from the centre of the
Earth to the surface of the

In this diagram the distances

from the centre of the Earth to
the Equator and the North
Pole (indicated by a and b)
are the same value.
However, the Earth is not evenly Semi minor axis
round - it is in fact wider around
the Equator than it is between
the North and South Poles.

This is called an Ellipsoid (or a


In this diagram the length of a

is greater than the length of b

A regular or geometric shape

which closely approximates the
shape of the geoid either on a
local or global scale and which
has specific mathematical
Semi major axis
Why we choose ellipsoid?
Geometrical surface - closest to the
shape of the earth
Easier to do calculation
Imaginary surface
Reference surface (datum)
Defined as the surface of the
earth's gravity field, which is
approximately the same as
mean sea level (MSL).

It is perpendicular to the
direction of gravity pull.

Since the mass of the Earth is

not uniform at all points, and
the direction of gravity
changes, the shape of the
geoid is irregular.
Three approximations to the earths true shape
were use in different ways by cartographers:
Reference surface for small-scale
SPHERE maps of countries, continents, and
larger areas

Reference surface for large scale

maps Ellipsoid ties in well with
modern data collection methods for
large scale mapping such in GPS ; it
compute latitude , longitude and
elevation using the WGS 84 ellipsoid.
Reference surface for ground
surveyed horizontal and vertical
positions elevations are determined
relative to the MSL geoid.
A datum is a mathematical model of the earth, which serves
as the reference for calculating the geographic coordinates
of a location.
A datum is built on top of the selected ellipsoid
Can incorporate local variations in elevation
With the ellipsoid, the rotation of the ellipse creates a totally
smooth surface across the world (Its actually doesn't reflect reality
very well), a local datum can incorporate local variations in
Internationally, WGS 84 is used as a standard for calculations
of position, distances , etc.
Malaysia use local datum:
-Kertau for Peninsular Malaysia
-Timbalai for East Malaysia.
Method for describing
the position of a
geographic location on
the Earth's surface using
spherical measures of
latitude and longitude.

It measures the angles

(in degrees) from the
center of the Earth to a
point on the Earth's
Measured from the north
south angular distance
from the equator in
degree, minute and

The Equator is defined as 0

latitude while north pole as
+90 and the south pole as -

The intersection of all

planes of a certain latitude
and the globe are called
as parallels.
Measured from the east
west angular distance from
the prime meridian in
degree, minute and second.

The Greenwich Meridian is

defined as 0 longitude and
increase up to +180 on the
East and 180 on theWest.

All half circles from the North

Pole to the South Pole are
called Meridians.
Transformation process where mathematical
formula are used to transform spherical
geographical coordinates to the two
dimensions of a plane.

Map projection involves a process from 3D

ellipsoid of earth to the 2D plane on a map.

This process cannot avoid some form of

distortion where it affects shapes, distances
and directions.
To bring 3D of
earth surface

Into 2D plane on
a map
Why we need map projection?

1) A flat map is easier to produce, convenient, easy to store

and print in books

2) Also apply to digital map data, which can be presented

on a computer screen

3) Computations on a plane are much simpler than on a

curved surface

4) To represent large area of the earth on a plane paper or

atlas especially in cartography.

5) To obtain rectangular coordinates for easier computation

This describes the way an imaginary piece
of paper (which will become the map) is laid on
the Earth to obtain the latitude and
longitude for the map.

Where the imaginary piece of paper

touches the Earth there is no distortion on
the map. As you move away from there
however, distortions increase with distance.
Three projections are used when deals
with mapping process :
1. Conical
2. Cylindrical
3. Azimuthal

The point or line where the projection

plane touches the ellipsoid is called the
point or line of tangency where no
distortion is found at this point or line.
1. Conical projection
Have a single line of no distortion
In the normal aspect, meridians are straight lines and parallels
are concentric circular arcs.
Distortion is increased when its move away from these lines.
Shapes are shown correctly, but size is distorted
2. Cylindrical projection
Have a single line of no distortion
In the normal aspect, this line touches upon the equator and
both parallels and meridians are straight lines perpendicular to
each other.
Distortion increases dramatically toward both poles, represented
by lines.
Show shapes correctly, but size is distorted
3. Azimuthal projection
Have a single point of zero distortion
Meridian appear as straight lines, and parallels are
concentric circles centering on the pole.
The transformation from the curved
reference surface of the earth to the flat
plane of the map is never completely

The distortions increase as the distance

from the central point of the projection

Placing the map plane so that it

intersects the reference surface will
reduce and mean out the scale errors.
All projections result in some distortion of the
relationships between features on the sphere when
they are projected onto a flat surface. These
distortions include:

- The direction between a feature and

surrounding feature
- The distance between a feature and
surrounding features
- The shape of any feature
- The size of any feature
Projection plane tangent to reference surface
A sample of distortions
Depending on their intended use, projections are chosen to
preserve a particular relationship or characteristic :

a) Equal-Area
Correctly shows the size of a feature

b) Conformal
Correctly shows the shape of features (A map cannot
be both equal-area or conformal it can only be one; or
the other)

c) Equidistant
Correctly shows the distance between two features

d) True Direction
Correctly shows the direction between two features
Example of conical projection:

Lambert Conformal Conic

In 1772 Johann Heinrich Lambert released Conformal

Conic Projection.
Today it has become a standard projection for
mapping large areas (small scale) in the mid-latitudes
such as USA, Europe and Australia.
It has also become particularly popular with
aeronautical charts such as the 1:100 000 scale World
Aeronautical Charts map series.
This projection commonly used two Standard

The projection is conformal in that shapes are well

preserved for a considerable extent near to the
Standard Parallels.
For world maps the shapes are extremely distorted
away from Standard Parallels. - This is why it is very
popular for regional maps in mid-latitude areas
(approximately 20 to 60 North and South).

Distances are only true along the Standard Parallels.

Across the whole map directions are generally true.
Example of cylindrical projection:
Universal Transverse Mercator
Mercator (1569) Transverse
Mercator (1772)
Mercator (1947)

The Transverse Mercator projection is based on the

highly successful Mercator Projection.

The main strength of the Mercator projection is that it is

highly accurate near the Equator . The main problem
with the projection is that distortions increase away from
the Equator.

Mercator projection is highly suitable for mapping

places which have north-south orientation near to the
equator but not suitable for mapping North-South
orientation South America or Chile
Instead of using Equator as touching point, Tranverse
Mercator touch any line of longitude and called the
Central Meridian of a map. Now, it can be used North-
South orientation.

In 1947 the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)

developed the Universal Transverse Mercator coordinate
system (generally simply called UTM).

NATO recognised that the Mercator/Transverse Mercator

projection was highly accurate along its Standard
Parallel/Central Meridian. Indeed as far as 5 away from
the Standard Parallel/Central Meridian there was minimal

Like the World Aeronautical Charts, the UTM system was

able to build on the achievements of the International
Map of The World.
Using this NATO designed a similar regular system for
the Earth whereby it was divided into a series of 6
of longitudinal wide zones. There are a total of 60
longitudinal zones and these are numbered 1 to 60
east from longitude 180 .

Malaysia :
- Peninsular Malaysia Zone 47 & 48
- East Malaysia Zone 49 & 50
Example of azimuthal projection:
This projection is from Ptolemy
It is most commonly used over Polar areas, but
can be used for small scale maps of
continents such as Australia. The great
attraction of the projection is that the Earth
appears as if viewed form space or a globe.
This is a conformal projection in that shapes
are well preserved over the map, although
extreme distortions do occur towards the
edge of the map.
Example of countries : Canberra, the Capital
City of Australia
Comparison of projections:

Stereographic Azimuthal Conformal Best used in areas over

the Poles / small
continent mapping
Lambert Conformal Conical Conformal Best used in mid
Conic latitudes e.g. USA,
Europe & Australia
Mercator Cylindrical Conformal & true Best used in the areas
direction around the Equator &
for marine navigation
Robinson Pseudo cylindrical All attributes are Best used in areas
distorted to create around the Equator
more pleasant
Transverse Mercator Cylindrical Conformal Best used for areas
with north south
How to choose map projections?

1) Define the purpose of the map

What to compare ? Areas, distances or directions ?
E.g. : Flow patterns of oceans requires a conformal projection
while presenting size of countries requires an equal
area projection.

2) Look at the shape, size and location of the

geographical area to be mapped.
Distortion pattern of the chosen projection should
match the shape of an area as closely as possible.
E.g. : Transverse Mercator suitable for Chile, South
America since it has large N-S extension.

3) The choice should be influenced by the manner

in which the map extent fills the screen or paper.