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Lambert Azimuthal Equal Area

Release 9.3
Last modified October 21, 2008
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This projection preserves the area of individual polygons while simultaneously maintaining a true sense of direction from the center. The general pattern of distortion is radial. It is best suited for individual land masses that are symmetrically proportioned, either round or square.

Illustration of the Lambert Azimuthal Equal Area projection

Projection method

Planar, projected from any point on the globe. This projection can accommodate all aspects: equatorial, polar, and oblique.

Point of tangency

A single point, located anywhere, specified by longitude and latitude.

Linear graticules



Shape is minimally distorted, less than 2 percent, within 15° from the focal point. Beyond that, angular distortion is more significant; small shapes are compressed radially from the center and elongated perpendicularly.


Equal area.


True direction radiating from the central point.


True at center. Scale decreases with distance from the center along the radii and increases from the center perpendicularly to the radii.


The data must be less than a hemisphere in extent. The software cannot process any area more than 90° from the central point.

Uses and applications



Lambert Azimuthal Auxiliary Sphere (Desktop version 9.3 and later)

NOTE: The Auxiliary Sphere Type parameter accepts 0 (use semimajor axis or radius of the geographic coordinate system), 1 (use semiminor axis or radius), 2 (calculate and use authalic radius), or 3 (use authalic radius and convert geodetic latitudes to authalic latitudes).


NOTE: Supported on spheres only.

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