-One of my favorite episodes of the West Wing also happens to be an interesting topic. AlderaanDuran I know you're a West Wing fan, I'm sure you recall this episode, and flagamuffin your a fan of cartography. Any thoughts on the Gall-Peters Projection? Why isn't it used popularly? What is widely accepted as the most accurate world map?
Gall-Peters Projection via Wikipedia:
The Gall–Peters projection was first described in 1855 by clergyman James Gall, who presented it along with two other projections at the Glasgow meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (the BA). He gave it the name "orthographic" (no relation to the Orthographic projection) and formally published his work in 1885 in the Scottish Geographical Magazine.
The name "Gall–Peters projection" seems to have been used first by Arthur H. Robinson in a pamphlet put out by the American Cartographic Association in 1986. Before 1973 it had been known, when referred to at all, as the "Gall orthographic" or "Gall's orthographic." Most Peters supporters refer to it only as the "Peters projection." During the years of controversy the cartographic literature tended to mention both attributions, settling on one or the other for the purposes of the article. In recent years "Gall–Peters" seems to dominate.
In 1967 Arno Peters, a German filmmaker and historian, devised a map projection identical to Gall's orthographic projection and presented it in 1973 as a "new invention." He promoted it as a superior alternative to the Mercator projection, which was suited to navigation but also used commonly in world maps. The Mercator projection increasingly inflates the sizes of regions according to their distance from the equator. This inflation results, for example, in a representation of Greenland that is larger than Africa, whereas in reality Africa is 14 times as large. Since much of the technologically underdeveloped world lies near the equator, these countries appear smaller on a Mercator and therefore, according to Peters, seem less significant. On Peters's projection, by contrast, areas of equal size on the globe are also equally sized on the map. By using his "new" projection, poorer, less powerful nations could be restored to their rightful proportions. This reasoning has been picked up by many educational and religious bodies, leading to adoption of the Gall–Peters projection among some socially concerned groups, including Oxfam, National Council of Churches, New Internationalist magazine, and the Mennonite Central Committee.
Peters's original description of the projection for his map contained a geometric error that, taken literally, implies standard parallels of 46°02′ N/S. However the text accompanying the description made it clear that he had intended the standard parallels to be 45° N/S, making his projection identical to Gall's orthographic. In any case, the difference is negligible in a world map.
Linking xkcd has become a trite thing, which is unfortunate because most of the time Randall knocks it out of the park. This might be his best one ever.
I kind've think equirectangular is neat, and since none of the projections are actually practical, why not?
EDIT: and that's a good scene, of course.