Top 10 World Map Projections

It may come as a surprise to hear that there is no truly correct way of representing the earth as a flat image.

A world map projection is a visual representation of this challenge using a grid composed of lines of longitude and latitude.

This transference has been subject to interpretation and choice since the earliest days of world mapping.

In no particular order we give you our top 10 world map projections.

1. Mercator

This projection was developed by Gerardus Mercator back in 1569 for navigational purposes. Its ability to represent lines of constant course from coast to coast made it the perfect map for sailing the seas. Its popularity was so great that it became used as a geographic teaching aid even though the projection grossly distorts countries sizes. This is at its worst the closer you are to the poles. Greenland is 550% too big, it should fit into Africa 14 times!

mercator projection

Image - Daniel R Strebe

2. Robinson

This map is known as a ‘compromise’, it shows neither the shape or land mass of countries correct. Arthur Robinson developed it in 1963 using a more visual trial and error development. “I visualised the best-looking shapes and sizes. I worked with the variables, until it got to the point where, if I changed one of them, it didn’t get any better.” It was only at this point that he worked out the mathematical formula. The curved meridians, give it a nice spherical look.

robinson projection

Image - Daniel R Strebe

Our Classic world map uses the Robinson projection and is a contemporary tribute to the familiar schoolroom map and is perfect for map-lovers of all ages.

Available in a choice of 4 different colourways you can buy one here. Prices Start at £35 for a beautiful quality lithographic print.

classic world wall map framed

3. Dymaxion Map

This projection was released by R Buckminster Fuller in 1954 after several decades working on it. The world is projected onto the surface of a icosahedron, allowing it to be unfolded and flattened in two dimensions. It is said to represent the Earth’s continents as “one island”. His desire was to present a projection that had no “right way up” and lose the North up and South down presentation of other world maps.

dymaxion projection

4. Gall-Peters

This is a cylindrical world map projection, that regains accuracy in surface area. It is named after James Gall and Arno Peters. Whilst Gall, first described the projection in 1855 it was not until 1973 when Peters, began to heavily market the projection as the ‘Peters World Map’ that it became popular. He called it a “new invention” that allowed poorer, less powerful nations to be restored to their rightful proportions. It is thought that the first use of the name ‘Gall Peters’ was by Arthur Robinson (Robinson Projection) in a pamphlet produced by the American Cartographic Association in 1986.

gall peters projection

Image - Daniel R Strebe


5. Sinu-Mollweide

Developed in 1953 by Allen K Philbrick, this projection fuses the Sinusoidal projection , which was first used in the 16th Century, with Karl Brandan Mollweide's map of 1805 and challenges our assumption of how the flattened globe should look. Still an equal area projection that maintains fidelity of area, we like this projection for its bold graphic view.


sinu mollweide projection



modern framed wall map sinu-mollweide map

We call this our Wide Angle Map as we feel it gives a really special bird’s eye view of the globe – the countries nestling together remind us of the prehistoric land mass Pangea!

We printed this little known projection to celebrate our fifth anniversary and it is now a popular part of our main collection. You can now. Prices start at £29 for a quality paper print.


6. Goode’s Homolosine.

Developed by John Paul Goode in 1925 this projection regains the accuracy of country sizes by adding ‘interruptions’ into the ocean areas, much like an orange peel.


Image - Daniel R Strebe

7. AuthaGraph

Inspired by the Dymaxion Map, Hajime Narukawa’s map is made by dividing the spherical surface of the map into 96 triangles. These are then projected into a tetrahedron that can be unfolded into a rectangle. What this allows you to do is to retain the correct proportional sizes of the continents and oceans. Something never achieved before. Whilst the shapes of the continents are recognisable the layout certainly is not !

AuthaGraph projection

Image - AuthoGraph

8. Cyclindrical Equal Area Projection

This map is know as cylindrical projection because of its straight lines of longitude and latitude. Shape is sacrificed in order to represent countries in their correct proportional size. This is done by narrowing the lines of latitude as they approach the poles, in order to compensate for the missing convergence of the lines of longitude. It’s a really interesting and alternative thought provoking alternative view of our planet.


equal area projection

Image - Daniel R Strebe

modern framed wall map

Our Future Map range of maps utilises this projection and it creates a fantastic alternative piece of wall art for your home.

You can buy one here now. Prices start at £29 for a quality paper print.


9. Peirce Quincuncial

Whilst not used greatly for geographic purposes we like this alternative conformal map projection developed by Charles Sanders Peirce in 1879. The projection is presented with the North pole at the centre and four quadrants around this giving you a projection that can be tiled perfectly.


Peirce Quincuncial

Image - Daniel R Strebe

10. Winkel Tripel

The Winkel Tripel projection is a modified azmiuthal projection. This is, in essence, a globe that is projected onto a flat surface giving it curved lines of latitude and curved meridians. The projection, by Oswald Winkel in1921 was developed with the goal of minimizing the three kinds of distortion: area, direction and distance. Thus it became the Tripel Projection (German for triple). The projection is neither equal-area nor conformal, its main feature is that all of the parallels are curved except for the straight poles and equator. This gives a lovely spherical feeling to this two dimensional map. 

winkel tripel projection


Image - Daniel R Strebe

winkel tripel world wall map with oak rails

We print the Winkel Tripel World Map in a colourful modern scheme. It is available in paper, plastic and magnetic formats.

You can buy one here now. Prices start at £35 for a quality paper print.