Africa is Really Big

This has been going around the development blogs, but I think it’s still worth posting in case you haven’t seen it. The Mercator projection maps that we’re so used to seeing greatly exaggerate the size of objects far from the equator while shrinking those close to it. Africa (at 11.7 million square miles) is larger than North America (9.5 million square miles) but appears roughly the same size as Greenland (a measly 0.8 million square miles).

But this is the true size of Africa in comparison to the continental US, China, India, and most of Europe:

The True Size of Africa infographic

(h/t to the always fascinating Information is Beautiful)

This map also reminds me of an ODT map on display in one of the hallways at Hopkins. While it also uses the Mercator projection, it has the South as up and the North as down, showcasing just how arbitrary are designation of North as up really is. Something like this:

If any readers want to get me the Peters equal-area South-is-up map as the ultimate geek gift for the holidays, I would be eternally grateful.


11 2010

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