If you look at the world map, it seems that Canada and Russia cover almost a quarter of the surface of our planet, when in reality they occupy only 5%.
Australia does not look much larger than Alaska, although it is the sixth largest country in the world and four and a half times larger than the US territory.
We think of Scandinavia as being larger than India, when in fact the latter is three times the size of the three countries combined.
North America and Greenland appear to be at least as large, if not slightly larger, than Africa. Yet it is larger than both: the hotter continent is 14 times larger than the icy northern landmass.
If we include North America in Africa, there is still room for quite a few countries: with an area of more than 30 million square kilometers, the Black Continent is three times the size of North America and much larger than Russia, although we see the opposite on the map.
This is all due to the distortion that can be attributed to the projection of Mercator on world maps. The cartographic procedure invented in 1596 was intended to assist sailors by correctly depicting land areas. However, this distorted the dimensions.
Maps that do not use the Mercator projection are dimensionally correct, but then the shape of the continents is severely distorted – Illustrated by Bours’s article.
The biggest problem with creating a world map is that it is impossible to represent the reality of a spherical Earth on a flat surface.
Met Office climate data scientist Neil Kaye has created a 2D representation of what the world actually looks like. Here is the shocking truth:
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