Create Custom Map Projections

Caitlin Dempsey


Flex Projector is a free and open source, platform agnostic software application that lets users upload GIS data and create customized small scale global map projections.  The authors of the software describe the objective of Flex Projector: “The principal goal of Flex Projector is to give cartographers and the mathematical layperson a means to design new map projections that are pleasing to look at, functional, and minimize shape and area distortion.

Built using Java, Flex Projector is cross-platform and can be installed on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows platforms.  The interface was designed by the authors to be intuitive and “that users would have little need for the manual.”  Adjustments to map projections are achieved through the use of sliders which affect length of parallels, distance of parallels from the equator, convex or concave bending of parallels, and distribution of meridians.

Data from vector, raster, and elevation data from common GIS and raster formats can be used as inputs.  There is a detailed paper published in Cartographic Perspectives (2008)  which describes Flex Projector: Flex Projector–Interactive Software for Designing World Map Projections.

List the web site to download Flex Projector.  There is also a data sections where some sample vector and faster datasets can be downloaded.  Visit the Gallery page to view map projections.


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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.

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