A Matter of Maps

Visual Capitalist, one of my favorite sources of information portrayed by graphics and illustrations, posted a nice article showing how a Mercator projection distorts the size of countries. Many of us grew up with a Mercator projection of the world on our school classrooms, and we probably had a nagging sense that something was not quite right in the way it showed various countries. The article linked below shows the problem: the further a country lies from the equator, the more distorted its size. Australia and countries in Africa, South America, and southern Asia come out reasonably well, but the US, Canada, and countries in northern Europe and northern Asia get a bit of an unnatural boost to their size. Maybe a boost to their ego, too.

The next linked article, again from Visual Capitalist, compares the Mercator projection with other types of projections. Some are better for navigational directions and geographic positioning while others are better for sizes and distances. Unfortunately, there is no perfect way of mapping the Earth onto a flat piece of paper (or a flat computer screen) without some kind of compromise. Makes me wish for a good old-fashioned (but up to date) globe!

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