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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Best map projection

    What do you guys think is the best map projection?

    Personally I think it has to be either Authagraph or Dymaxion
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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Best map projection

    "Best" depends on what you want the map projection to do.

    For all people complain about it, Mercator projections are very useful for navigation as they preserve direction and shape.
    On the other hand, they are terrible for area, esecially when covering a large portion of the world.

    Also, the map center is also very important, again based onw hat yo want to use the map for.

    Hence I don't think there can be a "best" projection, there are just lots of different projections that are more or less useful depending on need.

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    Dragon in the Playground Moderator
     
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    Default Re: Best map projection

    There is one and only one correct and obvious answer.

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    Default Re: Best map projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    There is one and only one correct and obvious answer.
    Well, yes, if you are making a map of the Earth. A campaign map of a planet that does not have a New Zealand on it cannot use this projection, somewhat limiting its viability, which is unfortunate.

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    Default Re: Best map projection

    What would be the best for figuring out what a world actually looks like?
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    Dragon in the Playground Moderator
     
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    Default Re: Best map projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Ides Usher View Post
    Well, yes, if you are making a map of the Earth. A campaign map of a planet that does not have a New Zealand on it cannot use this projection, somewhat limiting its viability, which is unfortunate.
    A campaign map of a planet that does not have a New Zealand on it is a campaign map of a planet that is not yet complete.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    What would be the best for figuring out what a world actually looks like?
    A globe.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2021-01-02 at 12:39 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    We're from Europe, not a mirror dimension.

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    Default Re: Best map projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Khedrac View Post
    For all people complain about it, Mercator projections are very useful for navigation as they preserve direction and shape.
    On the other hand, they are terrible for area, esecially when covering a large portion of the world.
    Yeah, you hear a lot of complaints about Mercator making Europe seem bigger than Africa, but the people making those complaints don't seem to realise that's not what the purpose of the projection was or is--as you say, it's excellent for navigation because any straight line on a Mercator map will preserve the same bearing at each line of latitude or longitude it crosses.

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    Default Re: Best map projection

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Yeah, you hear a lot of complaints about Mercator making Europe seem bigger than Africa, but the people making those complaints don't seem to realise that's not what the purpose of the projection was or is--as you say, it's excellent for navigation because any straight line on a Mercator map will preserve the same bearing at each line of latitude or longitude it crosses.
    Honest question, as I do not know much about this, but how much navigation is done via perfectly straight lines? Isn't most efficient travel projected on a flat map going to have a curved line of some sort?
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    We're from Europe, not a mirror dimension.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Best map projection

    I think Factotum might mean that the geodesics are straight lines
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    Default Re: Best map projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Honest question, as I do not know much about this, but how much navigation is done via perfectly straight lines?
    With marine navigation, the use Mercator designed the projection for, it's pretty nice to be able to just maintain a single compass heading.
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    Default Re: Best map projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasdoif View Post
    With marine navigation, the use Mercator designed the projection for, it's pretty nice to be able to just maintain a single compass heading.
    Yeah, makes things a lot easier to just set a compass heading and keep heading in that direction, even if that means you won't be following a true great circle.

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    Default Re: Best map projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Honest question, as I do not know much about this, but how much navigation is done via perfectly straight lines? Isn't most efficient travel projected on a flat map going to have a curved line of some sort?
    I think curved lines help for calculating most efficient routes but, a map that preserves parallels and meridians is best for figuring out where the hell you are at a given time.
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    Default Re: Best map projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Honest question, as I do not know much about this, but how much navigation is done via perfectly straight lines? Isn't most efficient travel projected on a flat map going to have a curved line of some sort?
    These days, navigation is probably done via GPS and efficient usage of underwater currents and prevailing winds, all of which are thoroughly mapped. But when Mercator used intuitive logarithmic compression to create his projection about 50 years before logarithms were fully developed, navigation was done via compass, so having a map that preserved parallels and meridians (and their angle to any given compass direction) was far more important. You could look at the map, draw a line between two points, say "this line is north-by-north-west" and then set your compass to that... and it'll get you there. Not via the shortest route, but it'd be correct.

    What I'm trying to say here is that the Mercator projection was an amazing development for its age, and that the reason we continue to use it to this day is mostly inertia, because we are used to how it looks, and all other projections (especially the ones that retain size but distort shape) look funny.

    The "best" projection when it comes to minimal distortion is of course the orange slice one*, since it will best preserves all the salient characteristics such as shape and size... but you can't easily use it to travel, rendering practically useless as a map.

    Grey Wolf

    *Or any of the other variations on "cut a globe until it can lay flat", such as the Euler spiral
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Best map projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    The "best" projection when it comes to minimal distortion is of course the orange slice one*, since it will best preserves all the salient characteristics such as shape and size... but you can't easily use it to travel, rendering practically useless as a map.

    Grey Wolf

    *Or any of the other variations on "cut a globe until it can lay flat", such as the Euler spiral
    I still think Dymaxion* is one the best ones for being able to imagine how the sticking out bits fit together

    *Projection onto an icosahedron (d20) which is then unfolded.

    EDIT:
    If one wanted to, one could turn it into a series of triominoes with numbered edges and then be able to freely reconfigure it so that there's an uninterrupted band of space between your starting point and destination
    Last edited by Bohandas; 2021-01-02 at 04:38 PM.
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    Default Re: Best map projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    I still think Dymaxion* is one the best ones for being able to imagine how the sticking out bits fit together

    *Projection onto an icosahedron (d20) which is then unfolded.

    EDIT: If one wanted to, one could turn it into a series of triominoes with numbered edges and then be able to freely reconfigure it so that there's an uninterrupted band of space between your starting point and destination
    Triominoes - maybe on a computer projection, but that's gets fiddly in actual use, which is where the value of one large square/rectangular sheet increases. (You wouldn't want to lose one.) My wife has enough trouble reading a normal map without her handling triangles!
    Last edited by Tarmor; 2021-01-02 at 05:29 PM.

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    Default Re: Best map projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    I still think Dymaxion* is one the best ones for being able to imagine how the sticking out bits fit together

    *Projection onto an icosahedron (d20) which is then unfolded.
    The trouble - correction, one trouble - with that is, you always have to make a very arbitrary decision about which faces remain attached to each other, and which are detached. Look at the first example shown in Wikipedia and tell me, how far do you think it is from New Zealand to Antarctica? Or Chile?

    True, every 2d projection raises a problem like that. But maps that are produced with the aim of being "accurate" or "fair" or whatever other indefinable term you like - have it worse than Mercator, because they set themselves up with a higher expectation. They actually claim to give a "better" idea of what the world is "really" like. And at that, they fail.

    If you want to give the most accurate idea, use a globe. Seriously. Even a 2d model of a globe shown on a screen, provided the viewer can manipulate it freely, is better than any map projection.
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    Default Re: Best map projection

    I like the stereographic projection for its mathematical properties, in particular mapping circles to circles, which is good if you have a lot of craters. But the area distortion gets bad for more than a hemisphere at a time.

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    Default Re: Best map projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    The "best" projection when it comes to minimal distortion is of course the orange slice one*, since it will best preserves all the salient characteristics such as shape and size... but you can't easily use it to travel, rendering practically useless as a map.
    I mean, when do you ever actually need a navigational map of the whole world on a single sheet? Even ships going around half the globe have their possible routes severely limited by half a dozen bottlenecks around the world. You can always use three separate maps for the Atlantic, Indian, and West-Pacific Ocean.
    And when travelling on land, the presence of roads limits your options so much that curvature of the Earth and distortions from map projections don't factor into your choice of route anyway.

    I think world maps are really more artworks than actual navigational tools.
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    Default Re: Best map projection

    World maps are for dividing the world into empires and area of influences.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    the Vector Legion [is the IFCC's new pawns], mark my words. Way too much unfinished business there and they already know about the Gates.
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    Default Re: Best map projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I mean, when do you ever actually need a navigational map of the whole world on a single sheet?
    In an RPG? All the damn time.

    And in RL, no-one travels world-spanning distances by land. We use air, which has no limitations on roads or other bottlenecks, and the only consideration is which route is shortest within a price range - sometimes involving circuitous routes that'd defeat jigsaw-like projections that involve messing around with cut edges or detachable triangles.

    GW
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    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Default Re: Best map projection

    I like the Robinson as far as a wall map goes.
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    Default Re: Best map projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    I thought of this immediately when I saw the thread, it seems Bohandas is a big fan of Segways and 3D goggles.

    In all honesty though, there isn't really a "best" map projection. It is simply not possible to flatten a map of a spherical body in such way that it's useful in every scenario. Even a globe isn't always the answer. If you find yourself needing to use a map regularly just pick the projection that best suits your purpose.

    EDIT: Fixed grammar
    Last edited by Tetrimino; 2021-01-06 at 06:57 PM.
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    Default Re: Best map projection

    I also thought of the xkcd comic.

    Anyone play through StarCraft II Heart of the Swarm? Kerrigan asks Abathar why he can continuously improve the swarm, but he can't make it perfect. He replies that 'perfect' is a moving target. A swarm that is perfect for one thing will be sub-optimal for another.

    Same thing for the map projections. Each is 'perfect' for one or two things, but not one of them can really be used for everything. Even the globe has its problems, namely storage and scale.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    And in RL, no-one travels world-spanning distances by land. We use air, which has no limitations on roads or other bottlenecks, and the only consideration is which route is shortest within a price range - sometimes involving circuitous routes that'd defeat jigsaw-like projections that involve messing around with cut edges or detachable triangles.
    There's true there's no physical restrictions aside from how much fuel you can carry onboard, there are a couple of restrictions - first is political (back in the 80s, Russian airspace was restricted, so flying from the UK to HK involved a refuelling stopover in New Delhi) and the other is safety/regulatory where commercial aircraft have to remain within a certain flying time of an airport capable of handling it (ETOPS certification) in case of engine failure.

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    Default Re: Best map projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Torath View Post
    Even the globe has its problems, namely storage and scale.
    Not to mention the obvious: you cannot see more than 50% of it at once.

    GW
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    Not to mention the obvious: you cannot see more than 50% of it at once.

    GW
    Clearly the best map is two globes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    the Vector Legion [is the IFCC's new pawns], mark my words. Way too much unfinished business there and they already know about the Gates.
    I'll take that bet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    Clearly the best map is two globes.
    So... pretty much this? While they cannot cover the whole world well I have a soft spot for conic projections for some reason.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tetrimino View Post
    In all honesty though, there isn't really a "best" map projection.
    Ahem.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    Clearly the best map is two globes.
    This is why the French have been a major world power for quite a long time.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2021-01-04 at 08:33 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
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    I've always been partial to the Tarkin projection.
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