Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Putting countries' sizes into perspective

Most maps you see are based on the "Mercator projection," so named for Gerardus Mercator, who came up with it in 1559. The Mercator projection is excellent for sailing, as it shows constant bearing as a straight line. But it’s terrible for estimating the size of large masses of land — particularly when they’re close to poles. 

Under the Mercator projection, for instance, Africa looks to be about the same size as Greenland; it’s actually 14 times larger. The Economist - building on work by Kai Krause - made this graphic showing Africa’s true size: bigger than not just Greenland but China, the United States, India, and Western Europe put together.

Africa is much bigger than you think... just take a look. And guess what? Switzerland is still at the heart of it all! ;)

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