O que é : Orthographic Projections in Cartography

O que é: Orthographic Projections in Cartography

Orthographic projections in cartography are a fundamental aspect of map-making that involves representing the Earth’s curved surface on a flat plane. This technique allows cartographers to accurately depict the three-dimensional features of the Earth, such as its landforms, bodies of water, and other geographical elements, in a two-dimensional format. By using orthographic projections, cartographers can create maps that are visually appealing, informative, and easy to interpret.


Orthographic projections in cartography are based on several principles. Firstly, they assume that the Earth is a perfect sphere or an ellipsoid. Secondly, they rely on the concept of projecting points from the Earth’s surface onto a tangent plane or a secant cone. This projection process involves preserving certain properties, such as angles, distances, and shapes, while inevitably distorting others. Additionally, orthographic projections require the selection of a specific point of perspective, known as the center of projection, which determines the orientation and appearance of the resulting map.

Fatores Históricos

The use of orthographic projections in cartography dates back to ancient times. Early civilizations, such as the Greeks and Romans, employed various projection methods to create maps of their known world. However, it was not until the Renaissance period that significant advancements were made in the field of cartography, with the development of more accurate projection techniques. Pioneers like Gerardus Mercator and Gerardus Blaeu played a crucial role in refining orthographic projections and laying the foundation for modern cartography.


Orthographic projections in cartography have numerous applications across various fields. They are widely used in geography, geology, urban planning, and environmental studies, among others. For example, orthographic projections are essential in creating topographic maps, which provide detailed information about the elevation and terrain of a particular area. They are also utilized in thematic maps, such as population density maps or climate maps, to visually represent specific data sets. Additionally, orthographic projections are employed in navigation charts, allowing sailors and pilots to navigate accurately.


The importance of orthographic projections in cartography cannot be overstated. These projections enable us to visualize and understand the Earth’s surface in a comprehensive manner. They provide a means to represent complex geographical data in a simplified and accessible format. Furthermore, orthographic projections facilitate spatial analysis, allowing researchers and decision-makers to identify patterns, trends, and relationships within geographic data. By accurately depicting the Earth’s features, orthographic projections contribute to effective planning, resource management, and decision-making processes.


Orthographic projections in cartography offer several benefits:

  1. Accurate representation of geographical features
  2. Enhanced spatial understanding
  3. Effective communication of complex data
  4. Facilitation of spatial analysis
  5. Support for informed decision-making


While orthographic projections in cartography provide valuable tools for map-making, they also present certain challenges:

  1. Distortion of shapes and sizes
  2. Selection of an appropriate center of projection
  3. Difficulty in representing polar regions accurately


Two examples of orthographic projections in cartography are the azimuthal equidistant projection and the stereographic projection. The azimuthal equidistant projection represents the Earth’s surface as if viewed from an infinite distance, with all points appearing at their correct distances from the center of projection. The stereographic projection, on the other hand, projects the Earth’s surface onto a tangent plane from a point diametrically opposite the tangent point.

Como funciona e para que serve

Orthographic projections in cartography work by projecting points from the Earth’s surface onto a flat plane. This projection is achieved by drawing lines from the center of projection to each point on the Earth’s surface and extending them until they intersect the plane. The resulting map displays the projected points in their correct relative positions, preserving angles and shapes as much as possible.

Orthographic projections serve the purpose of creating maps that accurately represent the Earth’s features. They allow us to visualize and analyze geographical data, understand spatial relationships, and make informed decisions based on the information presented. Whether it’s for navigation, urban planning, or scientific research, orthographic projections play a vital role in various applications.

Tipos e modelos

There are several types and models of orthographic projections used in cartography. Some of the most commonly used ones include:

  • Azimuthal Equidistant Projection
  • Stereographic Projection
  • Gnomonic Projection
  • Orthographic Projection
  • Mercator Projection


The future of orthographic projections in cartography is promising. With advancements in technology, such as remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), cartographers have access to more accurate and detailed data. This allows for the creation of increasingly precise orthographic projections. Additionally, the integration of virtual reality and augmented reality technologies may revolutionize the way we interact with and visualize maps, further enhancing the capabilities of orthographic projections.

In conclusion, orthographic projections in cartography are essential tools for representing the Earth’s surface on a flat plane. They have a rich historical background, numerous applications, and significant benefits. While they present challenges, such as distortion and the selection of a center of projection, orthographic projections continue to play a crucial role in map-making and spatial analysis. As technology advances, the future of orthographic projections looks promising, with the potential for even more accurate and immersive map representations.


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