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charlesarthur : mercator   1

Your understanding of the size of countries and continents is completely wrong • Relatively Interesting
<p>The Mercator projection is a cylindrical map projection of a sphere to a two dimensional surface created by the Flemish geographer and cartographer Gerardus Mercator in 1569. It became the standard map projection for nautical purposes, and although the linear scale is equal in all directions around any point, the Mercator projection distorts the size of objects as the latitude increases from the Equator to the poles, where the scale becomes infinite.

As a result of these distortions…

• Greenland appears larger than Africa, but in reality Africa’s area is 14 times greater and Greenland’s is comparable to Algeria’s alone.<br />• Africa also appears to be roughly the same size as Europe, when in reality Africa is nearly 3 times larger.<br />• Alaska takes as much area on the map as Brazil, when Brazil’s area is nearly 5 times that of Alaska.<br />• Finland appears with a greater north-south extent than India, although India’s is greater.<br />• Antarctica appears as the biggest continent (and would be infinitely large on a complete map), although it is actually the fifth in area.</p>


You already knew that Mercator was a convenient lie, but it's nice to be reminded how much of a lie. (When it's shown to children for the first time, is that fake news?) There's a clever infographic accompanying the article, with questions and answers to: which is bigger, the US (inc. Alaska) or Russia? Is Colombia smaller or bigger than the UK? Is Tanzania the same size as Germany, smaller, or bigger?
maps  mercator 
march 2017 by charlesarthur

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