map projection The representation on a plane surface of part or all of the surface of the Earth or a celestial body. Various projections have been used in the Earth sciences because of their particular suitability for certain work, e.g. equal-area projections for the global distributions of different sedimentary deposits, polar stereographic projection for the relationships within Gondwanaland, Mercator's projection for the absolute movements of the lithospheric plates, and conical projections for the Himalayan—Alpine fold belt. Projections based on Mercator's are most frequently used because of their general familiarity, unless the information portrayed is peculiarly distorted.
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