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Equal-Area Cylindrical Projection






Meridians: Equally spaced straight parallel lines.

Parallels: Unequally spaced straight parallel lines, perpendicular to the meridians. Spacing is closest near the poles.

Poles: Straight lines equal in length to the Equator.

Symmetry: About any meridian or the Equator.


This is an orthographic projection onto a cylinder secant at the standard parallels. It is equal-area, but distortion of shape increases with distance from the standard parallels. Scale is true along the standard parallels and constant between two parallels equidistant from the Equator. This projection is not equidistant.


For cylindrical projections, only one standard parallel is specified. The other standard parallel is the same latitude with the opposite sign. For this projection, any latitude may be chosen; the default is arbitrarily set to 0º (the Lambert variation).


  • This projection was proposed by Johann Heinrich Lambert (1772), a prolific cartographer who proposed seven different important projections. The form of this projection tangent at the Equator is often called the Lambert Equal-Area Cylindrical projection. That and other special forms of this projection are included separately in this guide, including the Gall Orthographic, the Behrmann Cylindrical, the Balthasart Cylindrical, and the Trystan Edwards Cylindrical projections.

  • Mapping Toolbox™ uses a different implementation of the equal-area cylindrical projection for displaying coordinates on axesm-based maps than for projecting coordinates using the projfwd or projinv function. These implementations may produce differing results.


landareas = shaperead('landareas.shp','UseGeoCoords',true);
axesm ('eqacylin', 'Frame', 'on', 'Grid', 'on');
geoshow(landareas,'FaceColor',[1 1 .5],'EdgeColor',[.6 .6 .6]);

World map using equal-area cylindrical projection

Version History

Introduced before R2006a