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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 Jun 3 '14 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 Jun 3 '14 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? – DPSSpatial Jun 3 '14 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 Jun 3 '14 at 20:32
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    @gerrit added an answer... – DPSSpatial Jun 3 '14 at 21:13
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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...

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    What an extraordinary site/sight! – Martin F Jun 3 '14 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 Jun 4 '14 at 6:19
  • I can't find there azimuthal equidistant projection :( – yossico Jul 3 '18 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 Nov 14 '18 at 17:23
  • @gerrit whoa I haven't tried that one - that is a really interesting projection!!! – DPSSpatial Nov 14 '18 at 18:28

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