The projection is Albers Equal Area Conic, with parameters of :

- Central meridian: -126.0 (126:00:00 West longitude)
- First standard parallel: 50.0 (50:00:00 North latitude)
- Second standard parallel: 58.5 (58:30:00 North latitude)
- Latitude of projection origin: 45.0 (45:00:00 North latitude)
- False northing: 0.0
- False easting: 1000000.0 (one million metres)

The datum is NAD83, based on the GRS80 ellipsoid.

- It is appropriate for representing the whole province on one projection
plane, while maintaining sufficient accuracy for all
BC Environment's analysis needs.
- Latitude lines are represented by simple curves,
and longitude lines by straight lines.
This makes tiling on mapsheet boundaries reliable and straightforward.
- As its name implies, it distorts area very little.
- Its area representation is very close to Universal Transverse Mercator,
the standard projection used by Ministry of Forests.
We found the average difference to be 0.05 %, and the
maximum difference to be 0.08 % within the province.
- Its distance representation is also very close to
Universal Transverse Mercator.
We found the average difference in latitude to be 0.15 %, and the
maximum difference to be 0.30 % within the province.
The average difference in longitude is 0.17 %, and the
maximum difference is 0.32 %.

- The latitudes of the standard parallels were chosen to
minimize the total distortion of area
across the province as a whole from Victoria (at about 48:15 N)
to the Yukon border (at 60:00 N).
Albers distorts much more outside the standard parallels than between them.
- The longitude of the central meridian was chosen to approximately bisect
the area of the province.
BC has a longer E-W dimension than N-S.
- The latitude of projection origin and
false easting were chosen to ensure positive coordinate values
across the province.
- The range of coordinates can be stored in single precision with metre accuracy.

- Longitude/Latitude.
BC Environment had been storing its spatial data in
Genasys in degrees of Longitude/Latitude,
partly due to limitations of its map tiling/indexing scheme.
However,
Genamap calculates polygon areas only when it builds topology.
This meant that it calculated areas using an equivalent to
a Mercator projection plane, which introduced significant distortion
(up to 15 %) of area calculations in maps of large areas.
It is theoretically possible to store data this way in ARC/INFO also, but analysis cannot be done unless the data is projected, and duplicated, in a better projection. This is impractical.

Also, no GIS can yet store or process raster data in Long/Lat. Therefore, a true projection must be chosen for generation and storage of raster data. Once this is done, it is more convenient if all data (including vector) is stored in the same projection.

For both of these reasons, Long/Lat storage was rejected.

- Universal Transverse Mercator.
This projection represents area, distance, and shape well.
However, BC contains 5 UTM zones, and most of the
management regions contain two or more zones.
This means that data must be projected between zones to do analysis
across a zone boundary.
ARC/INFO must copy data to do this transformation,
so UTM was rejected.
- Polyconic.
This projection represents the province well on paper,
but all its lines (longitudes and latitudes) are complex curves.
It preserves neither area nor shape.
Also,
Snyder
recommends against using Polyconic for large, tiled datasets,
so Polyconic was rejected.

A polygon coverage of the entire province was created, composed of rectangular areas (The 1:20,000 BCGS mapsheet neatlines) in longitude/latitude. This coverage was projected into UTM, Lambert, Polyconic, and Albers. The areas, latitudinal (horizontal) widths, and longitudinal (vertical) heights of the polygons in each projection were calculated. These measurements in each of the three projections were then compared with the corresponding measurements in UTM.

These tables show:

- Maximum differences between tested projections.
- Mean differences between tested projections.
- Standard deviation differences between tested projections.

- Area differences between UTM and Albers.
- Latitudinal length differences between UTM and Albers.
- Longitudinal length differences between UTM and Albers.
- Area differences between UTM and Lambert.
- Latitudinal length differences between UTM and Lambert.
- Longitudinal length differences between UTM and Lambert.
- Area differences between UTM and Polyconic.
- Latitudinal length differences between UTM and Polyconic.
- Longitudinal length differences between UTM and Polyconic.