Whenever I look at Google Maps at a global or polar area, the projection hurts. Is there any web service with a zoomable world map, that uses an equal-area projection — preferably pseudorectangular such as the Mollweide projection? Even National Geographics online map uses Mercator.

Another alternative, Google Earth, does not particularly distorts the Earth, but does not give a global view either.

See also: Why has Web Mercator (auxiliary sphere) become the web map standard?

Edit 2018-08-24: Google Maps no longer uses Web Mercator, but has moved to what appears to be an orthographic projection.

  • @mapBaker Isn't that exactly what I wrote...?
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 17:55
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    the problem with Mollweide is that the map shows as an ellipse, so that you cannot "go around the world" without interuption. An equal area projection on a rectangular frame (e.g. cylindrical equal area) would be even more distorted.
    – radouxju
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 18:51
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    @gerrit what are you trying to do with this web map? If you're looking to simply 'take a look around' because you don't like the 'look' of google maps, why don't you download the Planet.OSM file from Open Street Map, load it into QGIS, and change the projection to one you like? Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 19:31
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    @mapBaker I have no specific application in mind. I like to use an interactive map to "explore the world", and I indeed don't like the look of Google Maps. I don't have a lot of GIS knowledge, the process you describe is a bit more wore than simply loading up a website with a easy to use interface...
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 20:32
  • 1
    @gerrit added an answer... Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 21:13

1 Answer 1


Check out this site: earth.nullschool.net when you launch the site, click the 'earth' text, then explore the different projection options... you can pan and zoom on the map too!

Not as detailed, but the implementation of the different projections with the data they're displaying shows a good proof of concept of something you're after I think...

  • 6
    What an extraordinary site/sight!
    – Martin F
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 21:47
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    +1 very nice site. The panning is adjusted and the data is reprojected. However, this would not be practical for image data because then you cannot use a single set of tiles, and resampling on the fly is too costly (it already takes a few seconds with simple vector data).
    – radouxju
    Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 6:19
  • I can't find there azimuthal equidistant projection :(
    – yossico
    Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 11:09
  • You could add that the one equal-area projection offered by this site is their atlantis projection, which is unusual for a world map, but which is equal area.
    – gerrit
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 17:23
  • @gerrit whoa I haven't tried that one - that is a really interesting projection!!! Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 18:28

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