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You Might Have Been Cheated by Maps for Your Entire Life

mercator projection map

Image credit: Strebe / Wikimedia Commons. A Mercator projection map.

You may be shocked to be told that that every map tells a lie in one way or another, for instance, Mercator projection maps, which is one of the most popularly used at present, enlarge areas far from the equator, while the Goode homolosine projection (pictured below) demonstrates continents in the proper sizes to one another, but unfortunately presented with many obvious interruptions and distortions of distance.

 

Goode_homolosine_projection_SW-1

Image Credit: Strebe / WikimediaCommons

In cartography it has been a long-standing problem for such give-and-take of benefits, because it is closely associated with projection, which comes up with efforts to turn a spherical globe into a flat plane in map-making.

The Mercator is one of the most widely-used projections. However it is not perfect itself. In reality, compared with Greenland, Africa is 14 times bigger, the size of Canada is just 1.2 times larger than that of the United States, and Antarctica should be not the continent as huge as it is presented.

If you think the Mercator is not a good map at hand, you might be wrong. Actually this map has created a standard in nautical navigation by preserving “true compass bearings between any two points”.

As there is no perfect map available to meet every requirement, what you have to do is make sure about the purpose of using a map and find out the advantages and disadvantages of each map so as to fit it into your goal.

If you want to know more about some funny facts of the Mercator map, you had better go watch the BuzzFeedBlue video below.

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