Map projections are a critical component of any mapping application, whether for a hardcopy printout or an interactive web map. If you are new to mapmaking, you may see projections as a confusing and intimidating topic. If so, keep in mind that even some of the more advanced mapmakers have just enough map projection knowledge to do what they need. The theory runs as deep as math itself. With a minimal amount of orientation, you can get started with map projections.
This guide will prepare you for using map projections with MapServer. For more information about MapServer, see the other chapters in this book. In this section, general concepts are discussed, and a few popular projections are introduced. The syntax for setting projections in a MapServer map file is also covered.