(Newswire.net — October 26, 2018) — The world doesn’t exactly look how we think it does. Most of the maps we use on a daily basis are based on Mercator’s 450-year-old projection. Even “Google Maps” used a variant of this projection up until a few months ago.
When you compare accurate square mileage, a whole new world appears, Business Insider reports.
Nil Kaj, Climate Data Expert at the Weather Meteorological Office in the UK, made a visualization of a map that changes between Mercator’s projection and the true size of states compared to other countries.
Mercator’s projection distorts the true size of many countries, especially those further from the equator.
According to the new map, Brazil is actually larger than Australia. Russia, Canada, Greenland, Europe, parts of Asia and the United States are significantly reduced. Mercator’s projection shows Greenland as a surface larger than Africa, while in reality, Africa is larger by as much as 14 times.
According to the new real map the Russian Federation is twice the size of the United States and Africa is two times larger than Russia. Alaska is six times larger than Italy. While Greenland is actually three times the size of Texas, it could fit in China four times. South America is about three times larger than Europe and the entire UK can fit inside the Great Lakes.
The Mercator projection of the world map was first presented by Flemish cartographer Gerhard Mercator in 1569. It was extremely useful for research, because it allows navigation under the right line and maintains the right form of orientation. But when you transfer a three-dimensional shape, such as a globe, to a two-dimensional surface, something has to be discounted. In this case, it is the distortion of the size and distance of states that are closer to the poles.