For regional groundwater flow models (areas greater than 100,000 km2), improper choice of map projection parameters can result in model error for boundary conditions dependent on area (recharge or evapotranspiration simulated by application of a rate using cell area from model discretization) and length (rivers simulated with head-dependent flux boundary). Smaller model areas can use local map coordinates, such as State Plane (United States) or Universal Transverse Mercator (correct zone) without introducing large errors. Map projections vary in order to preserve one or more of the following properties: area, shape, distance (length), or direction. Numerous map projections are developed for different purposes as all four properties cannot be preserved simultaneously. Preservation of area and length are most critical for groundwater models. The Albers equal-area conic projection with custom standard parallels, selected by dividing the length north to south by 6 and selecting standard parallels 1/6th above or below the southern and northern extent, preserves both area and length for continental areas in mid latitudes oriented east-west. Custom map projection parameters can also minimize area and length error in non-ideal projections. Additionally, one must also use consistent vertical and horizontal datums for all geographic data. The generalized polygon for the Floridan aquifer system study area (306,247.59 km2) is used to provide quantitative examples of the effect of map projections on length and area with different projections and parameter choices. Use of improper map projection is one model construction problem easily avoided.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Custom map projections for regional groundwater models|
|Contributing office(s)||Office of the AD Water|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|