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By N. Bowditch

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The map includes an area 500 miles on each side of the great circle. The limits of this map are indicated on the Mercator map of Figure 309c A cylindrical projection similar to the Mercator, but with uniform spacing of the parallels, is called a rectangular projection. It is convenient for graphically depicting information where distortion is not important. The principal navigational use of this projection is for the star chart of the Air Almanac, where positions of stars are plotted by rectangular coordinates representing declination (ordinate) and sidereal hour angle (abscissa).

The other parallels are concentric circles. The distance along any meridian between consecutive parallels is in correct relation to the distance on the earth, and, therefore, can be derived mathematically. The pole is represented by a circle (Figure 312b). The scale is correct along any meridian and along the standard parallel. All other parallels are too great in length, with the error increasing with increased distance from the standard parallel. Since the scale is not the same in all directions about every point, the projection is neither a conformal nor equal-area projection.

Figure 321. Polar stereographic projection. The polar azimuthal equidistant projection is useful for showing a large area such as a hemisphere because there is 34 NAUTICAL CHARTS no expansion along the meridians. However, the projection is not conformal and distances cannot be measured accurately in any but a north-south direction. Great circles other than the meridians differ somewhat from straight lines. The equator is a circle centered at the pole. The two projections most commonly used for polar charts are the modified Lambert conformal and the polar stereographic.

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American Practical Navigator by N. Bowditch


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