Friday, May 30, 2014

Bigger than It Looks... and It's Still Not a Country

It's not news that the Mercator Projection we often see in maps of the world distorts the continents, showing the extreme land masses of the North and South in very exaggerated sizes. There's not much land in the southern reaches, however (except the eminently ignorable Antarctica), so the bias mostly over-represents the Northern Hemisphere.

Here's a great example. How large would you say Greenland is compared to, oh, say, Africa? As large, almost as large, half as big....

None of the above.

The source page goes on to say, "Greenland, in fact, is smaller than India, for example, but much bigger than most other countries."

India is not a small country, yet look how small Antarctica looks compared to the whole of Africa. That's because Africa is gigantic:

So basically, Africa is as large as a good chunk of the rest of the world combined, particularly the more populated parts of the world (most notably, this map omits Russia, Canada, Southeast Asia, and South America).

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