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cylindrical projection

cylindrical projection in Science
cylindrical projection
  (sə-lĭn'drĭ-kəl)   
A map projection in which the surface features of a globe are depicted as if projected onto a cylinder typically positioned with the globe centered horizontally inside the cylinder. In flattened form, a cylindrical projection so centered produces a rectangular map with the equator in the middle and the poles at the top and bottom. Parallels and meridians appear as straight lines that intersect each other at right angles in a grid pattern, with the meridians equally spaced and the parallels spaced progressively farther apart moving away form the equator. Distortion of shape and scale in a whole-world cylindrical projection is minimal in equatorial regions and maximal at the poles. Compare azimuthal projection, conic projection. See illustration at Mercator projection.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for cylindrical projection

in cartography, any of numerous map projections of the terrestrial sphere on the surface of a cylinder that is then unrolled as a plane. Originally, this and other map projections were achieved by a systematic method of drawing the Earth's meridians and latitudes on the flat surface. But this method produces distortion, so a map projection today may be created using any of a number of mathematical methods. The familiar Mercator projection (q.v.) is a cylindrical projection.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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