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Lambert Conformal Conic

Release 9.2
Last modified August 3, 2007
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This projection is one of the best for middle latitudes. It is similar to the Albers Conic Equal Area projection except that Lambert Conformal Conic portrays shape more accurately than area. The State Plane Coordinate System uses this projection for all zones that have a greater east–west extent.
Learn more about the Albers Conic Equal Area projection
Learn more about the State Plane Coordinate System

Illustration of the Lambert Conformal Conic projection

Projection method

Conic projection normally based on two standard parallels, making it a secant projection. The latitude spacing increases beyond the standard parallels. This is the only common conic projection that represents the poles as a single point. Can also be defined with a single standard parallel and a scale factor. If the scale factor is not equal to 1.0, effectively the projection becomes a secant projection.

Lines of contact

If using a two standard parallel case, the two standard parallels.

If using a single standard parallel case, and the scale factor is 1.0, the standard parallel.

If using a single standard parallel and the scale factor is less than 1.0, the cone cuts the spheroid along two parallels.

Linear graticules

All meridians.



All graticular intersections are 90°. Small shapes are maintained.


Minimal distortion near the standard parallels. Areal scale is reduced between standard parallels and increased beyond them.


Local angles are accurate throughout because of conformality.


Correct scale along the standard parallels. The scale is reduced between the parallels and increased beyond them.


Best for regions predominantly east–west in extent and located in the middle north or south latitudes. Total latitude range should not exceed 35°.

Uses and applications

SPCS for all zones that are more east–west in extent.

USGS 71/2—minute quad sheets to match the State Plane Coordinate System.

Used for many new USGS maps created after 1957. It replaced the Polyconic projection.
Learn more about the Polyconic projection

Continental United States: standard parallels, 33° and 45° N.

Entire United States: standard parallels, 37° and 65° N.




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