How to draw straight line between two coordinates using Cartopy

In our previous posts Minimal Geodetic example using Cartopy and How to increase Geodetic resolution / accuracy / smoothness in Cartopy we have shown how to create a geodetic line on a map. While a geodetic is defined to be the shortest line on the Earth’s surface, it is not a straight line on a map projection.

In order to plot a geodetic we use:

plt.plot([lon1, lon2], [lat1, lat2], transform=ccrs.Geodetic())

In order to plot a straight line, we need to use the same projection as we used to create the map instead of transform=ccrs.Geodetic().

For example, if we created the map using


we need to plot the line using transform=ccrs.PlateCarree()

plt.plot([lon1, lon2], [lat1, lat2], transform=ccrs.PlateCarree())

In order to avoid errors, I strongly recommend using just one instance of the projection and assigning it to a common variable, for example:

proj = ccrs.PlateCarree()
ax = plt.axes(projection=proj)
plt.plot([-75, 77.23], [43, 28.61], transform=proj)

Note that for reasons currently unknown to me at the moment, this only works for some projections at the moment. Using ccrs.PlateCarree() and ccrs.Miller() works, but using ccrs.Mollweide() does not work!

Complete example

This code reproduces the image shown above:

import as ccrs
import cartopy.feature as cf
from matplotlib import pyplot as plt

proj = ccrs.PlateCarree()
ax = plt.axes(projection=proj)
# Add straight line between two points
# Format: plot([lon1, lon2], [lat1, lat2])
plt.plot([-75, 77.23], [43, 28.61], linestyle='--',
         color='blue', linewidth=8,
# Make figure larger
plt.gcf().set_size_inches(20, 10)

# Save figure as SVG