Knowledgebase: LANCE
FIRMS - Projections
Posted by Diane Davies on 14 July 2021 04:43 AM

The distortion you note is due to the display of the data in geographic coordinates. In this case the data are displayed in latitude/longitude coordinates based on their location on a three-dimensional sphere representing the Earth. When the data are portrayed this way in a viewer, some particular distortion is apparent. However, when geographic data are also projected onto a 2-dimensional plane using a map projection, there is no one perfect projection that has no distortion or error either. Map projections typically do well at maintaining one or more of the basic spatial properties (shape, area, distance, direction), but not all of them. As an example, some web map viewers/applications display data using Web Map Mercator projection. The properties of this projection introduces scale distortion and makes features in the higher latitudes appear larger than they are in reality. This is just one common example, but there are always tradeoffs when displaying geographic data.

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