Graticule of the United Nations flag
The United Nations flag, reproduced below, shows crossed olive branches encircling a north polar equidistant azimuthal equidistant projection of the Earth. The projection is clipped at latitude 60 S: if it continued to the South Pole, the Southern Ocean would unbalance the map; worse, Antarctica would wreath all the other continents.
The map also has a graticule comprising five projected parallels of latitude and eight projected meridians. The prime meridian is at bottom center; Simplicity suggests that the projected parallels correspond to parallels on the globe spaced at 30 degree intervals (60 N, 30 N, 0 N, -30 N, -60 S) and that the projected meridians correspond to meridians on the globe spaced at 45 degree intervals (0 E, 45 E, etc.). The official flag page on the United Nations website does not describe the graticule in any detail. In this page, I will provide geographical arguments that confirm that these parallels and meridians are positioned at the latitudes and longitudes above. I will also show that several unofficial drawings of the UN flag are inaccurate.
If the UN flag reproduced above is too small to follow the geography, look at this this higher-resolution .pdf (unfortunately, in this rendering the graticule doesn't overlap landmasses).
- 60 N: The parallel passes through the west shore of Hudson Bay and through the narrowest part of Kamchatka.
- 30 N: The parallel passes through the northernmost part of Florida.
- 0 N: The parallel passes through Ecuador.
- 30 S: The parallel passes just south of Madagascar.
- 60 S: The parallel passes just south of Argentina.
- 0 E: The meridian passes through the easternmost part of the UK.
- 45 E: The meridian passes through the westernmost part of Madagascar.
- 90 E: The meridian passes through the northernmost part of the Bay of Bengal.
- 135 E: The meridian passes through the westernmost part of the Indonesian province of Papua.
- 180 E: The meridian passes just east of New Zealand.
- 135 W: The meridian passes east of Alaska (but not through much else).
- 90 W: The meridian passes through the westernmost part of Lake Superior.
- 45 W: The meridian passes through the southern tip of Greenland.
Several online renderings of the United Nations flag have the graticule mispositioned. For example, the UN flag on Wikipedia reproduced below has both its meridians and parallels misaligned: the 90 W meridian passes through the East Coast and the 30 N parallel is south of Cuba!