Google released a new projection for the desktop version of Google Maps which appears to preserve the spherical nature of the Earth at all zoom levels. The old projection was called “Web Mercator”.

Does this new projection technique have a name or a defined standard? Additionally, is this projection or its calculations available via the Google Maps JavaScript API? Can this projection be implemented using other JS mapping tools (leaflet.js, mapbox-gl-js)?

Tweet announcing changes: https://twitter.com/googlemaps/status/1025130620471656449


2 Answers 2


Google Maps now uses an azimuthal perspective projection (aka vertical perspective projection). Compare this with the general perspective projection used by Google Earth which allows a vertical (as with Maps) or any tilted viewing angle. See wiki/General_Perspective_projection for a description/discussion.

You can tell that it is not an orthographic projection (as per Autumn Leonard) by doing a little GM or GE experiment: Zoom out so that you can see an "entire" half of the globe. Note any small details you can just about see around the edges. Now zoom in from there and notice how those "edge places" start to disappear behind the horizon. And then zoom out and notice how more of those places come into view (even though they're smaller). That is the same perspective you get as an astronaut moving closer to or further from the Earth. Unless you zoom out to infinity --which is what the orthographic projection represents-- you never see truly an entire hemisphere.


It appears to be an Orthographic projection, since it's not stretching the map in any way to make the entire surface visible, and it actually just a 2D representation (your screen) of a 3D object (a globe).

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