Plate carree

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Projection name: plate carrée

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plate carrée plate carrée quadratische PlattKarte 正距円筒図法

  • Projection naming principle: Principle of Preponderance of Precedence.
  • Year of origin: Unknown.
  • Name of originator: Possibly Eratosthenes (~200 BCE) but probably Marinus of Tyre (AD 100).
  • Originator reference:
  • Year of formulation:
  • Name of formulator:
  • Formula citation:
  • Projection synonyms:
    • plane chart
    • geographic projection
    • unprojected
    • simple cylindrical
    • cylindrical equidistant
    • cylindrical equal-spaced projection
    • 正距円筒図法
    • 正方円筒図法
  • Projection properties:
  • Projection derivatives:
  • Naïve specializations:
  • Generalizations:


Several reasons support the name plate carrée:

  • Originator is unknown. Aujac et al (1987) dispute the interpretation that credits Eratosthenes. Ptolemy credits Marinus of Tyre.
  • The projection is so obvious as to render attribution meaningless.
  • Alternatives geographic projection and unprojected are solecisms.
  • Alternative plane chart is disputed; early Portuguese carta plana appear not to have had a well-defined projection¹.
  • Alternative simple cylindrical and cylindrical equidistant may also sometimes refer to equirectangular.
  • Alternative cylindrical equal-spaced projection, while descriptive, is found only in Deetz & Adams².
  • Modern texts prefer 'plate carrée, and the term carries no ambiguity.


  • ¹Hinks, as late as his 1921 edition of "Map Projections", stated there seemed to be no English name for this projection; nor is "plane chart" mentioned by Maling, Steers, Mainwaring, Jameson & Ormsby, d'Avezac, Kellaway, Abelson, Pearson, Jurisch, Bowyer & German, Richardus & Adler, or Turner in their books. Snyder ("Flattening the Earth", 1993, The University of Chicago Press, p. 5) and McDonnell (Introduction to Map Projections, 1979, Marcel Dekker, Inc., p. 21) note "plane chart" as a synonym for plate carrée, but without further comment. It's not clear why these authors considered plane chart to be synonymous with plate carrée.
  • ²Deetz & Adams, Elements of Map Projection, Coast and Geodetic Survey Special Publication No. 68, US Government Printing Office, 1921.