Everyone’s looked at a world map at least once in his or her life, and we all have certain fixed perceptions about the size of countries in relation to others. The world map that we see is actually a cylindrical map projection called the Mercator projection, which was presented in 1569 by a Flemish geographer and cartographer called Geradus Mercator. He came up with this map because it was difficult for early cartographers to map a 3D planet within a two-dimensional map. While this system helped alleviate this problem to a certain extent, there was a downside to using Mercator’s method. The Mercator projection distorted the size of countries depending on their position relative to the equator. As a result, certain physical landscapes such as Antarctica and Greenland became perceived to be larger than they actually were.
A website called thetruesize allows users to move landmasses to different locations, revealing the misconceptions we have about the sizes of certain countries. These are some of the things that the website has revealed.
#1 US really isn’t that big when compared to Australia
We all tend to see the United States of America as this hugely influential country, and it feeds into our assumption that the 50 states combined together make one of the biggest landmasses in the world. However, if mapped differently, proves the USA could be almost the same size as Australia. The land of Hollywood could look just as small as the land of kangaroos and beaches.
#2 On that note, look at how big Australia is when it’s placed over Europe.
Australia could cover almost the entire European continent on a map. How insane is that?
#3 Canada and USA could pretty much be the same size.
Except that in reality, a lot of Canada is inhabitable because of the Artic circle.
#4 Moving Mexico to Greenland makes the country look massive
The little country suddenly looks intimidatingly huge.
#5 Look at the increase in the size of Lithunia when it’s moved to the Barents Sea and the Artic Ocean
Maybe people would pay more attention to the beautiful country of Lithunia if it occupied a bigger space on the map.
#6 Texas and Alaska could actually be the same size
The state of Texas gets inflated when moved onto Alaska.
#7 Russia stops being a giant when moved down to the equator
Looks considerably less intimidating, doesn’t it?
#8 Japan Could Actually Be Stretched Across Canada
That is one long country.
#9 Move Antarctica down, and it’s almost the same size as Brazil
The deserted land of Antarctica is actually pretty similar in size to Brazil.
#10 America compared to Europe
The two big, powerful continents compared to each other.
#11 Congo becomes bigger when moved up North
The Democratic Republic of Congo wouldn’t be seen as such a tiny country if it were up North on the map.
#12 Little Iceland in relation to the state of New York
Aww, Iceland, you’re adorable.
#13 Iceland compared to Greenland
It looks slightly bigger than it was at it’s original position, but Iceland is still tiny compared to it’s neighbour.
#14 Peters is arguably more accurate than Mercator is
This picture really simplifies things for us.
#15 Comparing sizes on an equal area map
One should not compare the sizes of the countries unless one can do so on an equal area map. Otherwise, the comparisons wouldn’t be accurate.
#16 Lastly, this is how everything works
This is basically why our perception of the physical world is flawed.