Matt Langford

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Your World Map is Wrong

I am by no means a cartographer, but I have always had an interest in geography. One particular thing that grabbed my attention years ago was the glaring inaccuracies on wall maps.

As a reference, here’s a traditional looking map that most of us are familiar with from school.

Wall Map

This is based on the Mercator Projection. Basically, it was designed for navigation (think ships and such) and dates back hundreds of years. It was never intended for grade school geography.

If this map shapes your mental image of the world, it will blow your mind how innacurate it is. For instance, look at Greenland (the giant white country in the map above). Would you believe that Greenland is actually signficantly smaller than the continental United States? And Brazil?

Here’s a great gif that shows you the difference in the Mercator Projection and reality.

World Map Gif

Pretty amazing, right? So what would an accurate map look like? Here’s what we should have been learning from this whole time.

Accurate World Map

If this interested you at all, here are some of my sources:

While I have you, follow me on Twitter.

Matt Langford @Mtt