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Sensors 2008, 8(12), 7809-7817; doi:10.3390/s8127809

Selecting Map Projections in Minimizing Area Distortions in GIS Applications

*  and
Karadeniz Technical University, Engineering Faculty, Dep. of Geodesy and Photogrammetry, 61080, Trabzon, Turkey
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 October 2008 / Revised: 21 November 2008 / Accepted: 24 November 2008 / Published: 3 December 2008
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensors)
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Varioussoftware for Geographical Information Systems (GISs) have been developed and used in many different engineering projects. In GIS applications, map coverage is important in terms of performing reliable and meaningful queries. Map projections can be conformal, equal-area and equidistant. The goal of an application plays an important role in choosing one of those projections. Choosing the equal-area projection for an application in which area information is used (forestry, agriculture, ecosystem etc) reduces the amount of distortion on the area, but many users using GIS ignore this fact and continue to use applications with present map sheets no matter in what map projection it is. For example, extracting area information from data whose country system’s map sheet is in conformal projection is relatively more distorted, compared to an equal-area projection one. The goal of this study is to make the best decision in choosing the most proper equal-area projection among the choices provided by ArcGIS 9.0, which is a popular GIS software package, and making a comparison on area errors when conformal projection is used. In this study, the area of parcels chosen in three different regions and geographic coordinates and whose sizes vary between 0.01 to 1,000,000 ha are calculated according to Transversal Mercator (TM, 3°), Universal Transversal Mercator (UTM, 6°) and 14 different equal-area projections existing in the ArcGIS 9.0 GIS software package. The parcel areas calculated with geographical coordinates are accepted as definite. The difference between the sizes calculated according to projection coordinates and real sizes of the parcels are determined. Consequently, the appropriate projections are decided for the areas smaller and equal than 1,000 ha and greater than 1,000 ha in the GIS software package.
Keywords: GIS; TM; UTM; Area distortion; Equal-area projection GIS; TM; UTM; Area distortion; Equal-area projection
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Yildirim, F.; Kaya, A. Selecting Map Projections in Minimizing Area Distortions in GIS Applications. Sensors 2008, 8, 7809-7817.

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