I love geography, so when I see a chart or map, I am drawn to it.
My Pet Peeve: Mercator Projection wall maps mislead people into thinking continents are a certain size, because of the distortions caused by the projection. I have large wall maps in my study, one in front of me and directly behind my computer. I enjoy looking at it, but always remember it is a distorted view of the world.
I often point out this difference (distortion) to children
when I see they have a globe, as I want them to see that the real relative size of the continents (shown on the globe) is much different than what is shown on a typical wall map in their room or in their books
. The visible difference can be astonishing.
For example, Greenland
looks HUGE on a Mercator map, but is much smaller on a globe.
looks big on a Mercator map, but not as large as it really is (on a globe).
Simply put, as one looks at the Mercator maps, the further from the equator (closer to poles) one gets, the more distortion there is shown, with the land masses being stretched (enlarged) as you get closer to the poles.
Clip from an article: "Created by Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator in 1569, the Mercator projection preserves direction, instead of size, making it useful for navigation."
Here are a few illustrations to show the relative size of Africa
to other countries and to Greenland
. These illustrations are based on actual surface area comparisons.
Notice that Africa is about twice as large as the former Soviet Union!
Notice that the Continental USA and Europe and China AND India could ALL fit inside of Africa!
That is HUGE!
Notice that Greenland is actually MUCH smaller than Africa,
only about 1/14th the size of Africa, now go look at a typical Mercator map where Greenland appears about the same size as Africa, because of Mercator distortion. The second illustration shows a blue Greenland overlaid on top of a pink Africa, in both Mercator and actual size.
I am also including one projection map (see the map with the blue water) that says it shows the true size of the land based on actual surface area, so it may look a bit distorted or odd, as our minds are accustomed to the Mercator projection maps.