Natural Earth II


The Natural Earth II projection is a compromise pseudocylindrical map projection for world maps. It is distinctive from the Natural Earth projection by the meridians, which bend steeply toward a short pole line giving the map a unique appearance among compromise small-scale projections.

It was designed by Tom Patterson. Bojan Šavrič, Tom Patterson, and Bernhard Jenny published the math for the projection in 2015. It is available in ArcGIS Pro 1.2 and later and in ArcGIS Desktop 10.4 and later.

An example of the Natural Earth II projection
The Natural Earth II projection is shown centered on Greenwich.

Projection properties

The subsections below describe the Natural Earth II projection properties.


Natural Earth II is a pseudocylindric projection. The meridians are regularly distributed polynomial curves. They are concave toward the central meridian and do not intersect the parallels at right angles. The parallels are unequally distributed straight lines. The equator, both poles, and the central meridian are projected as straight lines also. The central meridian is 0.535 and poles are 0.226 times the length of the projected equator respectively. The bounding meridians smoothly join the pole lines, which gives the graticule a rounded appearance. The graticule is symmetric across the equator and the central meridian.


The Natural Earth II projection is neither conformal nor equal-area. It generally distorts shapes, areas, distances, directions, and angles. Distortion patterns are comparable to similar compromise pseudocylindrical projections. Area distortion grows with latitude and does not change with longitude. The high latitude areas are exaggerated. Angular distortion is moderate near the center of the map and increases toward the edges. Distortion values are symmetric across the equator and the central meridian.


The Natural Earth II projection is appropriate for general world maps.


The Natural Earth II projection is supported on spheres only. For an ellipsoid, the semimajor axis is used for the radius.


Natural Earth II parameters are as follows:

  • False Easting
  • False Northing
  • Central Meridian


Šavrič, B., Patterson, T. and Jenny, B. (2015). "The Natural Earth II world map projection." International Journal of Cartography, 1 (2), p. 123-133. DOI: 10.1080/23729333.2015.1093312