You might not think about this, but maps are super deceiving. With the surface of the earth being spherical, it’s rather hard to represent a plane without a bit of distortion.
Since the 1500’s, scientists have been developing algorithms to follow, hoping that they would better help them to transform the globe into something flat to work from. The method is known today as projection.
Unfortunately, even with projection coming such a long way, depending on how the map is laid out and for what purpose it is intended, some figures become distorted.
Area, shape, direction, bearing, distance and scale are all properties which make up map markers which are constantly being juggled, with most looking at the Mercator projection for clarity.
Check out The True Size to see the real size of your country.
The Mercator projection is widely used for navigation as it’s ability to represent lines of course is quite accurate. A line is drawn between two points on a map, providing an exact angle for a compass to follow, in turn also preserving the shape of a country.
It is however less practical for world maps as the scale becomes distorted. This is where the internet comes into play. Imgurian and map lover Mkyner compiled a series of maps which overlap, showing countries from all parts of the world placed over the United States to better display the size comparisons.
Most popular maps are made using cylindrical projection, which essentially stems from this: Imagine placing a cylinder over a globe and projecting the surface of the globe onto the cylindrical surface, leaving you with a flat, rectangular map.
Flemish geographer and cartographer Gerardus Mercator was the creator behind the Mercator projection in 1569. He preserved his map by means of varying the distances between the latitude lines and making them straight.There are however drawbacks, as with every other map. An example would be Greenland and Africa looking the same size, whereas Greenland is in fact 14 times smaller.
Map services such as Google Maps still work on the Mercator projection system. Close-up views of cities and roads are more accurate with minimal distortion. However, if you want a map that shows the true size of things, a Gall-Peters projection is your best bet.
“I’ve liked maps for as long as I can remember,” Mkyner told Bored Panda. “I enjoy exploring distant places on Google Earth, I think it’s important to have an understanding of the countries we hear about in the news, and I love sharing this interest with others (as I think many people do with their hobbies/passions).”
“I was looking up maps of South Africa yesterday (19 May 2019) when I came across the first comparison map. That quickly led to the CIA World Fact Book (a US government source). I was trying to procrastinate on some chores, so compiling those maps into a post seemed like a perfect idea.”
“Note, I did not include every country in the post,” they added. “I skipped Canada and Mexico, since they were on a lot of the maps anyway, and some of the smaller/more obscure countries (think Togo and Kyrgyzstan).”
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