# Chart Basics¶

Fundamental to mechanical navigation is being able to read the charts you are using, so lets start there. Charts are two dimensional representations of the world, using what’s called a **projection** to put the oblate spheroid of the earth on to a flat piece of paper.

## Projections¶

Understanding the projection is essential to understanding a chart. The primary projection used in navigation is the Mercator projection.

By Peter Mercator - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link