Today’s maps and the ones we’ve been looking at for the past decade haven’t changed much throguh time.
If you observbe modern world maps, youll see that North America and Russia Appear to be larger than Africa.
However, in reality, Africa is up to three times larger than North America, and also significantly larger than Russia.
This misinterpretation of size has recently been explained by a climate data scientist at the Met Office, who has come up with a two-dimensional representation of what our world really looks like.
The researcher explains that the world map distortions are the result of the Mercator projection, a map most commonly seen in history books as well as in kid’s schoolrooms.
The Mercator Projection was created in 1596, and aimed at helping sailors navigate our planet’s oceans.
The biggest problem with maps is that it is nearly impossible to come up with an accurate map that shows the reality of the spherical world on a flat map.
And this precise issue has bothered cartographers since the dawn of mankind.
This is why a number of maps have been published that range in shape from Hearts to cones.
Eventually, Gerardus Mercator came up with an entirely new concept in 1596, surpassing all other maps. The Mercator Projection offers right shapes of land masses, but greatly distorts the size of continents in favor of lands to the north.
That’s why Neil Kaye, a climate data scientist at Met Office has come up with an accurate world map that shows countries near the northern hemisphere with their accurate size.
Mr. Kaye created the new model by inputting Office data on the sizes of each country on the planet into a software called Ggplot, which serves as a data visualization package for statistical programming.
He then went on to create the final product (the world map) with the help of a stereographic projection, a mapping function that helps project a sphere onto a plane.
“There was then some manual tweaking of countries that are closer to the poles,” explained Mr. Kaye on Reddit.
“This demonstrates you can’t fit shapes on a sphere back together again once you put them on the flat.”