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Naming Canters’ Projections

After reading a bit from Frank Canters’ textbook Small-scale Map Projection Design [1], I felt compelled to write a few remarks about the naming of the Canters projections.

In 2015, when I was preparing map-projections.net, I used the names that I found at Dr. Böhm’s website boehmwanderkarten.de/kartographie/is_netze_canters.html (Canters W12, Canters W13 etc.) because I thought those were established labels for Canters’ projections. Later I realized that obviously, they were proposals by Dr. Böhm which are used nowhere else. However they suited me just fine because with long names, I always run into trouble in the thumbnail galleries of projections.
(Yes, I know… broken as designed…)

Canters W12
Canters W13
Canters W14
Canters W15
Canters W16
Canters W17
Canters W19

In this view, I run into problems when projections have long names…

But now I found out, that Frank Canters does not approve that kind of naming!
He mentions »the bad habit of designating a projection by the name of its author« [2] and states:

(…) the name of each projection should reflect the appearance of the graticule. The naming should also be brief, easy to comprehend and unequivocal. [3]

The projection that is called Canters W14 here, was labelled by Canters as low-error polyconic projection with twofold symmetry, equally spaced parallels and a correct ratio of the axes. That name surely reflects the appearance and is unequivocal. Also, it’s easy to comprehend provided that you’re a bit into map projections. For laymen however it seems awfully discombobulating, and it definitely isn’t brief.

Moreover, names like this might complicate discussion about map projections:
»Do you prefer the low-error polyconic projection with twofold symmetry and equally spaced parallels or the low-error polyconic projection with twofold symmetry, equally spaced parallels and a correct ratio of the axes?« – »I like both of them equally well but my favorite is the low-error pseudocylindrical projection with twofold symmetry and a pole length half the length of the equator.« – »Oh yes, that’s very nice, too, and in my opinion, much more pleasing than the low-error pseudocylindrical projection with twofold symmetry and a correct ratio of the axes.«
 
See what I mean?

Granted, throwing in names like W13, W14, W16 and W17 doesn’t make it much easier, and might cause you to stop for a moment to think whether W13 refers to the low-error polyconic projection with twofold symmetry, equally spaced parallels and with or without a correct ratio of the axes.

Be that as it may… my apologies, Mr. Canters! Until I can think of something better, I’m going to stick to the names that were proposed by Dr. Böhm. For reasons of design (see above). After all, the original names are available in the info panel that is provided for each projection. And in case you’ve missed that, they are listed right here:

  Short Name Canters’ name
Canters W12 Low-error polyconic projection with twofold symmetry
Canters W13 Low-error polyconic projection with twofold symmetry and equally spaced parallels
Canters W14 Low-error polyconic projection with twofold symmetry, equally spaced parallels and a correct ratio of the axes
Canters W15 Low-error pseudocylindrical projection with twofold symmetry
Canters W16 Low-error pseudocylindrical projection with twofold symmetry and a pole length half the length of the equator
Canters W17 Low-error pseudocylindrical projection with twofold symmetry and a correct ratio of the axes
Canters W19 Low-error pointed polar pseudocylindrical projection with twofold symmetry and a correct ratio of the axes

References

  1. Canters, Frank:
    Small-scale Map Projection Design
    London/New York 2002.
  2. loc.cit. page 19
  3. loc.cit. page 39

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