How to Create a Flat Map of Planet Earth

Throughout history cartographers around the world have found different methods for creating flat maps of Earth. None can represent reality exactly but each is useful for specific purposes. Creating a map of a small area might be relatively easy; making a flat map of the full Earth, however, is a completely different challenge. Cartographers have found various ways to create flat maps of the world. These are called projections. How do they do it? There are several ways it can be done, but every type of projection distorts reality in some way. In one certain way, scientists often use a Tissot’s indicatrix to quantify distortions that are introduced when creating a map.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/cartography-flattening-earth/
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