Presentation of Coordinate systems

We use web maps every day and never question why there is no coordinate system reference, yet our paper maps have more coordinate system information than the page can handle. Is it about time we reviewed our presentation of the map?

We [Geographers] create amazing worlds to be explored and yet when we put it on paper we feel the need to fill an eigth of the page with detail on the exact projected coordinate system used. Is this overkill or justified?

I am undecided. For years I have toiled and presented legal maps with every detail down to the false eastings & northings because it seemed to be the professional thing to do. It was the way I learned to present legal mapping and it “feels” right.

Correct practice?

The past few years has seen more use of web mapping and online provision of geospatial information, one thing that is never present though, is the coordinate system used. What is more surprising is that no-one ever asks. It is automatically assumed that it is all correct. Here are a few examples: Google Maps, Bing Maps, or even the British Geological Survey…The point here is that there might be coordinates, but in what coordinate system? What is the transformation? What is the level of accuracy?

Great online map but what coordinate system? What are the distances?

I’m now in a quandry and questioning the best practice moving forward. The logical answer is to provide the Coordinate Reference System or SRS/EPSG (delete as necessary) code to the online web map so that any allusion to location can be derived from the coordiante system information. What about paper maps/PDF outpu though? Do we NEED all that junk on the page if we are referencing the CRS/SRS/EPSG code? Surely by moving to this protocol we would be providing more space for our works of art…I mean maps.

Please vote you feelings on the poll below and I am happy to respond to any comment – Nick D

[wpdevart_poll id=”1″ theme=”12″]

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