The Patterson projection is a compromise cylindrical map projection. It exaggerates high-latitude areas less than the Miller and Compact Miller projections. The projection maps the world in a rectangle with a height-to-width ratio of approximately 0.57.

It was designed by Tom Patterson in 2014. Later that year, he published the math for the projection together with Bojan Šavrič and Bernhard Jenny. It is available in ArcGIS Pro 1.2 and later and in ArcGIS Desktop 10.4 and later.

An example of the Patterson projection
The Patterson cylindrical map projection is shown centered on Greenwich.

Projection properties

The subsections below describe the Patterson projection properties.


Patterson is a cylindric projection. The meridians are equally spaced straight lines. The parallels and both poles are straight lines, perpendicular to the meridians and the same length as the equator. The spacing between the parallels perceptually grows from the equator until approximately 60.5 degrees, and then it decreases toward the poles. The graticule is symmetric across the equator and the central meridian. The height-to-width ratio of the whole map is 0.57.


The Patterson projection is neither conformal nor equal-area. Shapes, areas, distances, directions, and angles are all generally distorted. Distortions are minimal in equatorial areas and increase toward the poles.


The Patterson projection is primarily used for general world maps that don't require accurate areas. The projection is appropriate to map phenomena that change with longitude such as time zones.


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


Patterson parameters are as follows:

  • False Easting
  • False Northing
  • Central Meridian


Patterson, T., Šavrič, B. and Jenny, B. (2014). "Introducing the Patterson cylindrical projection." Cartographic Perspectives, 78, p. 77-81. DOI: 10.14714/CP78.1270