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KEYWORDS: Tissot’s indicatrix


TISSOT’S INDICATRIX 
is a mathematical contrivance put forward by French mathematician Nicolas Auguste Tissot. It is the geometry that results from projecting a circle from a curved geometric model, such as the earth, onto a map. Tissot’s influential papers of 1878 and 1881 present his ‘ellipse of distortion’, universally known today as Tissot’s indicatrix: he imagined an infinitesimally small circle centered on some point on the surface of the Earth, and considered its shape after transformed by a given map projection. He proved it to be a perfect ellipse, centered exactly on the corresponding point on the map.

TissotCassini (rotated) Projection, with Tissot’s indicatrix at intervals of 30° (bigger intervals near the poles)


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