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Robinson Projection






Central Meridian: Straight line 0.51 as long as the Equator.

Other Meridians: Equally spaced, resemble elliptical arcs and are concave toward the central meridian.

Parallels: Straight parallel lines, perpendicular to the central meridian. Spacing is equal between the 38º parallels, decreasing outside these limits.

Poles: Lines 0.53 as long as the Equator.

Symmetry: About the central meridian or the Equator.


Scale is true along the 38º parallels and is constant along any parallel or between any pair of parallels equidistant from the Equator. It is not free of distortion at any point, but distortion is very low within about 45º of the center and along the Equator. This projection is not equal-area, conformal, or equidistant; however, it is considered to look right for world maps, and hence is widely used by Rand McNally, the National Geographic Society, and others. This feature is achieved through the use of tabular coordinates rather than mathematical formulae for the graticules.


For this projection, only one standard parallel is specified. The other standard parallel is the same latitude with the opposite sign. The standard parallel is by definition fixed at 38º.


  • This projection was presented by Arthur H. Robinson in 1963, and is also called the Orthophanic projection, which means right appearing.

  • This implementation of the Robinson projection is applicable only for coordinates that are referenced to a sphere. If you want to project coordinates that are referenced to an ellipsoid, using the projfwd or projinv functions, then create a projcrs object instead of a map projection structure. You can create a projcrs object for the Robinson projection using the ESRI authority code 54030. For example: projcrs(54030,'Authority','ESRI').

  • Mapping Toolbox™ uses a different implementation of the Robinson projection for displaying coordinates on map axes than for projecting coordinates using the projfwd or projinv function. These implementations may produce differing results.


landareas = shaperead('landareas.shp','UseGeoCoords',true);
axesm ('robinson', 'Frame', 'on', 'Grid', 'on');
geoshow(landareas,'FaceColor',[1 1 .5],'EdgeColor',[.6 .6 .6]);

Introduced before R2006a