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Plate Carrée

Release 9.2
Last modified August 3, 2007
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Also known as Equirectangular, Equidistant Cylindrical, Simple Cylindrical, or Rectangular, this projection is very simple to construct because it forms a grid of equal rectangles. Because of its simple calculations, its usage was more common in the past. In this projection, the polar regions are less distorted in scale and area than they are in the Mercator projection.

Illustration of the Plate Carree projection

Projection method

This simple cylindrical projection converts the globe into a Cartesian grid. Each rectangular grid cell has the same size, shape, and area. All the graticular intersections are 90°. The traditional Plate Carrée projection uses the equator as the standard parallel. The grid cells are perfect squares. In this projection, the poles are represented as straight lines across the top and bottom of the grid.

Line of contact

Tangent at the equator.

Linear graticules

All meridians and all parallels.



Distortion increases as the distance from the standard parallels increases.


Distortion increases as the distance from the standard parallels increases.


North, south, east, and west directions are accurate. General directions are distorted, except locally along the standard parallels.


The scale is correct along the meridians and the standard parallels.


Noticeable distortion of all properties away from standard parallels.

Uses and applications

Best used for city maps or other small areas with map scales large enough to reduce the obvious distortion.

Used for simple portrayals of the world or regions with minimal geographic data. This makes the projection useful for index maps.




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