Types of Coordinate Reference Systems
Generally speaking, the Coordinate Reference System used for Large Scale mapping (e.g. street maps) has very little impact on the enduser application.
However as the map scale becomes smaller the area of map being displayed increases and the properties of the Coordinate Reference System become increasingly important.
Many Coordinate Reference Systems are declared as being Conformal. This means that all meridians and parallels intersect at right angles and that, at any point, the scale is the same in every direction. The shapes of very small areas are preserved.
Equal Area Coordinate Reference Systems have the property that every part, as well as the whole, has the same area as the corresponding part on the earth, at the same reduced scale.
For more detailed explanations of the features of Coordinate Reference Systems, the recommended reading is: Map Projections  A Working Manual  by John P. Snyder  U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1395.
There are many different ways to classify Coordinate Reference Systems: some are based on cylinders or cones wrapped around a sphere (Earth); whereas others are based on a Plane, tangential to the sphere either at a Pole, the Equator or any other point on the surface. The most common are:
Cadcorp SIS Desktop uses this classification model and the following table briefly describes the supported Coordinate Reference Systems, some of their properties and their possible uses:
Meridians (Lines of Longitude) 
Parallels (Lines of Latitude) 
Graticule Spacing  Linear Scale  Notes  Uses  
Cylindrical 

Cassini  Central Meridian, each meridian 90° from it and Equator are straight lines. Others are complex curves. 
Parallels are complex curves.  Scale is true along Central Meridian and along lines perpendicular to CM. 
Conformal.  Still in limited use outside USA although largely replaced elsewhere by Transverse Mercator. Used for topographic mapping. 

Cylindrical EqualArea  Parallel straight lines  Parallel straight lines  Meridians and parallels intersect at right angles.  Scale diminishes polewards. At any point, the scale along meridians is too small as the parallel scale is too large, i.e. meridian and parallel scales are compensatory. 
Direction is not correctly represented. Areas are represented equally. 
Has often been used for distribution maps in Tropical areas. 
Equirectangular  Equidistant straight lines.  Equidistant straight lines.  Meridians and parallels intersect at right angles.  Scale is true along the central parallel, normally the Equator.  Neither Equal Area nor Conformal. Poles shown as lines.  Primarily used for display of general World or Regional information where distortion is considered to be unimportant. 
Gall Stereographic  Parallel straight lines.  Parallel straight lines. Parallels are projected Stereographically i.e from one end of the Equator. 
Meridians and parallels intersect at right angles.  Scale is true only along parallels 45° N and 45° S. Scale along Meridians expands towards the Poles but is only correct around latitude 45°. 
Neither Equal Area nor Conformal. Areas of land progressively diminished equatorwards but polewards of Latitude 45° they are progressively enlarged. 
Used in Atlases to show distribution examples. 
Mercator  Parallel straight lines.  Parallel straight lines.  Meridians and parallels intersect at right angles. Meridian spacing is equal and parallel spacing expands polewards. 
Scale is true only at the Equator.  Conformal. Poles cannot be represented. Reasonably accurate within 15° of the central parallel (Equator). 
Universally used for Marine navigation because all straight lines on the map are lines of constant Azimuth (Rhumb lines). Also used for display of Equatorial regions. 
Miller Cylindrical  Parallel straight lines.  Parallel straight lines.  Meridians and parallels intersect at right angles. Meridians are equidistant. Parallel spacing expands away from the Equator. 
Scale is true only at the Equator.  Poles shown as lines. Less scale exaggeration than Mercator.  Used for World maps as an alternative to Mercator. 
Oblique Mercator  Complex curves towards the line of tangency.  Complex curves concave towards the nearest Pole.  Graticule spacing increases away from the line of tangency. 
Scale is true along the line of tangency or along two lines equidistant and parallel to the line of tangency. 
Conformal. Mathematically based on a cylinder tangent along any Great Circle other than the Equator or any Meridian. 
Most often used for Navigation strip charts and satellite tracking charts. 
Transverse Mercator  Complex curves concave to a straight central meridian that is tangent to the globe. The straight central meridian intersect the Equator at 90°. 
Complex curves, concave towards the nearest pole. The equator is straight. 
Parallels are spaced at their true distances on the central meridian. Spacing increases away from the tangent meridian. 
Scale is true along the line of tangency or along two lines equidistant and parallel to the line of tangency. 
Conformal. Shape is true only within a small area. A real enlargement increases away from the tangent meridian. Cannot be edgejoined in an East West direction if each sheet has its own central meridian. 
Used where the NorthSouth dimension is greater than the EastWest. Used for National Topographic maps. 
PseudoCylindrical 

Craster Parabolic  Meridians are parabolic curves concave towards a straight central meridian. 
Straight parallel lines.  Meridian spacing is equal and decreases toward the poles. Parallel spacing is equal.  Scale is true on the parallels and the central meridian.  Used to display areas that have maximum extent in a NorthSouth direction. Also used in atlases as a World map to show distribution patterns. 

McBrydeThomas flat polar quartic 
Meridians are equally spaces sinusoidal curves.  Straight parallel lines.  Parallels decrease spacing polewards.  Scale is true on the parallels and the central meridian.  Equal Area.  Used in atlases as a World map to show distribution patterns, particularly in Equatorial and midlatitude areas. 
MollWeide  Central meridian straight line. 90^{th} meridians are circular arcs. All other meridians are equally spaced elliptical arcs. 
Unequally spaced straight lines, parallel to each other. Poles are points. 
An Equal Area projection within an ellipse.  Scale is true along 40° 44' North and South.  Equal Area.  Used for world maps with single central meridian or in interrupted form with several central meridians. Also used for regional maps of the Pacific. 
Robinson  Meridians are complex curves. 
Unequally spaced straight lines, parallel to each 
True to scale only along parallels ±38° latitude  Based on table of coordinates, not mathematical expressions. Distorts shape, area, scale and distance. 
Used for World maps.  
Sinusoidal Equal Area  Meridians are sinusoidal curves concave towards a straight central meridian. 
Straight parallel lines.  Meridian spacing is equal and decreases toward the poles. Parallel spacing is equal. The graticule spacing retains the property of equivalence of area. 
Scale is true on the parallels and the central meridian.  Projection may have several central meridians and may be interrupted on any meridian to help reduce distortion at high altitudes. 
Used to display areas that have maximum extent in a NorthSouth direction. Also used in atlases as a World map to show distribution patterns. 
Conical 

Albers Conic EqualArea  Meridians are straight lines converging on the polar axis but not at the pole. 
Parallels are arcs of concentric circles concave toward a pole. 
Meridian spacing is equal on the standard parallels and decreases toward the poles. Parallel spacing decreases away from the standard parallels and increases between them.  Scale is true on the standard parallels.  No areal deformation. Individual sheets can be joined along their edges. 
Used for thematic maps of large countries with a large EastWest orientation. 
Equidistant Conic  Meridians are straight lines converging on a polar axis but not at the pole. 
Parallels are arcs of concentric circles concave toward a pole. 
Meridian spacing is true on the standard parallels and decreases toward the pole. Parallels are spaced at true scale along the meridians. Meridians and parallels intersect at right angles.  Scale is true along all meridians and along the standard parallel(s). 
North or South pole is represented by an arc.  Used in atlases for maps of mid latitude areas. Good for representing regions with a few degrees of latitude lying on one side of the equator. 
Lambert Conformal Conic (2SP) 
Straight lines converging toward the pole.  Arcs of concentric circles concave toward a pole and centred on a pole. 
Meridian spacing is true on standard parallels, and decreases toward the pole. Parallel spacing increases away from the standard parallels and decreases between them. 
Scale is true on standard parallels.  A real distortion is minimal but increases away from the standard parallels. Opposite pole cannot be projected. Great Circle lines are approximately straight. Sheet can be joined along their edges. 
Used for topographic maps of large countries in mid latitudes having a large EastWest orientation. 
Polyconic  Central meridian and equator are straight lines, all other meridians are complex curves. 
Parallels are nonconcentric arcs of circles.  Meridian spacing is equal and decreases toward the poles. Parallels are spaced true to scale on the central meridian and the spacing increases towards the East and West borders. 
Scale is true along each parallel and the central meridian.  Neither Conformal nor Equal Area. Has both areal and angular deformation.  Used for maps of areas with a NorthSouth orientation. 
PseudoConical 

Bonne  Central meridian is a straight line, others are complex curves. 
Parallels are concentric circular arcs but the poles are points. 
Scale is true along the central meridian and along all parallels. 
Equal Area. No distortion along the central meridian and along the standard parallel. 
Used for atlas maps of continents and for topographic mapping of some countries. 

Azimuthal(There are three different cases for this particular classification: Polar, Equatorial and Oblique. Only outline information is given for typical cases and it is strongly suggested that the recommended reading is consulted for more detailed information.) 

Alaska Grid (ModifiedStereographic Conformal for Alaska) 
Meridians are normally complex curves.  Parallels are normally complex curves.  All meridians and parallels are normally complex curves although some may be straight under certain conditions. 
Scale is true along irregular lines.  Conformal.  Maps of Alaska. 
Azimuthal Equidistant  All meridians on the Polar aspect, the central meridian on all other aspects and the equator on the equatorial aspect are straight lines. 
Parallels on the Polar aspect sre circles spaced at true intervals (equidistant for the Sphere)  Distances measured from the centre are true.  Neither EqualArea nor Conformal.  Polar aspect  World maps and Polar hemispheres. Oblique aspect  Atlas maps of continents and World maps for aviation and radio use. 

Gnomonic  All meridians are straight lines.  All parallels except the Equator (a straight line) are ellipses, parabolas or hyperbolas.  Distortion rapidly increases away from the centre.  Scale rapidly increases away from the centre  Neither Conformal nor Equal Area. All Great Circles are shown as straight lines. Directions from the centre are true.  Used for navigation charts. 
Lambert Azimuthal EqualArea 
All meridians in the Polar aspect are straight lines.  Parallels in the Polar aspect are circles.  Scale decreases rapidly away from the centre.  Equal Area.  Maps of continents and hemispheres.  
Orthographic  All meridians are ellipses, circles or straight lines.  All parallels are ellipses, circles or straight lines.  Closely resembles a Globe in appearance.  Radial scale factor decreases away from the centre.  Perspective projection from an infinite distance.  Used chiefly for pictorial views. 
Polar Stereographic  Meridians are straight lines, radiating from the pole.  Parallels are concentric circles.  A perspective projection of the sphere.  Scale increases away from the centre.  Conformal.  Used for Polar maps and miscellaneous special maps. 
Stereo  Meridians are straight lines, radiating from the pole.  Parallels are concentric circles.  Scale increases away from the centre.  Conformal.  Used for Polar maps and miscellaneous special maps.  
Two Point Equidistant  Meridians are complex curves  Parallels are complex curves.  Limited to one hemisphere.  All Great circles are straight lines.  Used for navigation charts.  
Miscellaneous 

General Vertical NearSide Perspective 
All meridians are ellipses, circles or straight lines.  All parallels are ellipses, circles or straight lines.  Closely resembles a Globe in appearance.  Radial scale factor Decreases away from the centre.  Perspective projection.  Used chiefly for pictorial views. 
HammerAitoff  Central meridian straight line. All other meridians are equally spaced elliptical arcs. 
Unequally spaced straight lines, parallel to each other. Poles are points  An Equal Area projection.  Scale decreases away from the centre  Equal Area.  Used for world maps with single central meridian. 
Van Der Grinten  Central meridian straight line, all others are arcs of circles.  Equator is a straight line, all other parallels are arcs of circles. 
Shows entire globe enclosed in a circle  Equator is true to scale. Expands rapidly towards the Poles.  Neither Equal Area nor Conformal. A curved modification of the MercatorCoordinate Reference System. With great distortion in the Polar areas. 
Used only in the spherical form. Distribution maps of mineral resources on the seabed. 
Winkel I  Meridians are complex curves.  Unequally spaced straight parallel lines. Poles are straight lines, half as long as the Equator.  
Eckert I  Meridians are equally spaced at Equator.  Parallels are equally spaced straight lines.  Graticule entirely composed of straight lines. Poles are straight lines, half as long as the Equator. 
Not Equal Area.  Considered to be a novelty projection.  
Eckert II  Meridians are equally spaced at Equator.  Parallels are unequally spaced straight lines.  Graticule entirely composed of straight lines. Poles are straight lines, half as long as the Equator. 
Equal Area.  Considered to be a novelty projection.  
Eckert III  Central meridian is a straight line, 180° is a semicircle, all others are elliptical arcs. 
Parallels are equally spaced straight lines.  Poles are straight lines, half as long as the Equator.  Not Equal Area.  
Eckert IV  Central meridian is a straight line. 180° is a semicircle, all others are elliptical arcs. 
Parallels are unequally spaced straight lines.  Poles are straight lines, half as long as the Equator.  Scale is true along latitudes 40° 30' N & S.  Equal Area.  Used for World maps and Atlas maps of climate and other themes. 
Eckert V  Central meridian is a straight line. All others are sinusoidal curves. 
Parallels are equally spaced straight lines.  Poles are straight lines, half as long as the Equator.  Not Equal Area.  Used for World maps.  
Eckert VI  Central meridian is a straight line. All others are sinusoidal curves. 
Parallels are unequally spaced straight lines.  Parallels are straight lines, meridians are sinusoidal curves. Poles are straight lines, half as long as the Equator. 
Scale is true along latitudes 49° 16' N & S.  Equal Area.  Used in Atlases and text books for World maps. 