I am planning to perform a least-cost path analysis in ArcGIS 10.1 (advanced license) by means of Path Distance tool. I am taking into account a large area, corresponding to the Mediterranean basin. I am planning to use wind direction as an horizontal factor in the estimation of anisotropic least-cost paths representing navigation routes across that basin. My question: is there any specific type of projection that should be preferentially used when dealing with such a large area and given the type of analysis involved?
When calculating least-cost paths, the best projection to use is one that preserves scale. One that might be preferable would be an Equidistant Conic Projection.
The projection has the useful property that distances along the meridians are proportionately correct, and distances are also correct along two standard parallels that the mapmaker has chosen. The two standard parallels are also free of distortion.
One such projection would be the Europe Lambert Conformal Conic which you can find in the ESRI Continental Projected coordinate systems.
Another one which I found on EPSG Registry is ETRS89 / LCC Europe (EPSG 3034).
ETRS89 / UTM (CRS codes 25828-37 or 3040-49) used for conformal mapping at scales larger than 1:500,000. ETRS89 / LAEA (CRS code 3035) used for statistical applications at any scale.