Introduction

Soon after map projections were added to Oce, bug reports showed that coastline plots in some projections were subject to anomalous lines that run horizontally on the plot. A ad-hoc scheme was code to try to prevent this, but it does not always work. Problems are compounded for filled coastlines.

I had thought this was a basic problem of all projection coding, until I happened to try using the proj4 package instead of mapproj to carry out the projections. The result is that the annoying lines went away.

Test case

First, load libraries and extract the coastline.

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library(oce)
## Loading required package: methods
## Loading required package: mapproj
## Loading required package: maps
## Loading required package: proj4
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library(proj4)
library(mapproj)
data(coastlineWorld)
lon <- coastlineWorld[['longitude']]
lat <- coastlineWorld[['latitude']]

Next, plot with existing (mapproj) projection.

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par(mar=c(3, 3, 1, 1), mgp=c(2, 0.7, 0))
xy <- mapproject(coastlineWorld[['longitude']], coastlineWorld[['latitude']], proj="mollweide")
plot(xy$x, xy$y, type='l', asp=1)

center

Finally, plot with proposed (proj4) projection.

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par(mar=c(3, 3, 1, 1), mgp=c(2, 0.7, 0))
xy <- project(cbind(lon,lat), "+proj=moll")
plot(xy[,1], xy[,2], type='l', asp=1)

center

Conclusions

At least in this example, the proj4 package produces better coastlines, somehow being clever enough to cut the polygons that cross the “edge” of the earth.

I will do some more tests to see if this is a fluke case, but if I think proj4 is promising, I will see how to invent a scheme for handling the mapproj arguments called parameters and orientation with proj4. THis seems to be a bit tricky, at first glance, but let’s keep the cart behind the horse for now.

Resources

This website is written in Jekyll, and the source is available on GitHub.