There is an increasing need for pan-European spatial datasets, mainly to support the common European Union policies. This has inevitably raised demands for adopting pan-European cartographic projections to visualize the spatial data. The Map Projection Workshop organized by EuroGeographics in 2001 provided a recommendation to the European Commission to adopt the Lambert conformal conic projection for conformal pan-European mapping at the scales smaller or equal to 1:500,000. This paper discusses if the projection is an optimal solution in terms of linear deformations over the mapping region. An optimized CAMPREL (conformal adaptive mapping projection of rotation ellipsoid) projection for the area of interest is proposed as an alternative solution. The projection quality criteria were calculated and compared with those of the Lambert conformal conic projection. The maximal possible absolute linear distortion for conformal mapping of the pan-European area is also given. It has been shown that the CAMPREL projection designed for pan-European mapping better meets the projection selection criteria.

Key words: cartographic projection, CAMPREL, Chebyshev-Grave's theorem, Meshcheryakov's theorem, Laplace's partial differential equations, pan-European mapping, maximum absolute linear distortion