### The busted logic behind the flat world maps - 28/03/2013

Posted:

**Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:13 pm**Can you recall the Geography’s lessons we had in school? How to compare two countries dimensions?

Well, we took out huge flat atlas maps and starting to analyze the countries by first look. If their dimensions were too difficult to be compared, we started to measure the countries with long rulers, calculating margins, generating proportions and you name it. All this to receive a final answer or a final conclusion, which is absolutely wrong – as this topic is going to reveal.

Please inspect the diagram below.

This is the map of the world as we know it. It’s based on Mercator Projection Algorithm. The same picture we have seen on many atlases, textbooks, internet sources, movies, even ads on TV. I hope you can all orientate and find Australia on the map. Now find Greenland too (I always wondered why they named it Green-Land, when it’s awfully cold there, but anyway – that’s another etymology matter). Ok, can you say which is bigger? It’s obvious to deduct that Greenland is bigger, even much bigger than Australia. What if I tell you that Australia is nearly three and a half times larger than Greenland? Why then such huge, huge difference in the map? Well, Mercator Projections Algorithm is using angle approximations and equations, which are getting larger and larger when you are moving from the Equator to any of the two poles. In fact, when you reach the poles the equations will be with infinity values. The closer to the Equator, the small you will be. The further – the bigger. Now let’s use fixed values of the equations (using Gall-Peters Projection Algorithm).

What a tremendous difference, huh? Now redo the comparison between Greenland and Australia. The world map is looking ugly, but that’s it. That’s the real world around us. Now what our team did? We just launched the fourth game in our site! The game is based on Mercator Projection Algorithm and it's using modern Google Maps API technologies (I thanks to Bramus for supplying the source code and API’s implementations).

Drag the countries boundaries to their original locations.

Mercator Puzzle Game

Well, we took out huge flat atlas maps and starting to analyze the countries by first look. If their dimensions were too difficult to be compared, we started to measure the countries with long rulers, calculating margins, generating proportions and you name it. All this to receive a final answer or a final conclusion, which is absolutely wrong – as this topic is going to reveal.

Please inspect the diagram below.

This is the map of the world as we know it. It’s based on Mercator Projection Algorithm. The same picture we have seen on many atlases, textbooks, internet sources, movies, even ads on TV. I hope you can all orientate and find Australia on the map. Now find Greenland too (I always wondered why they named it Green-Land, when it’s awfully cold there, but anyway – that’s another etymology matter). Ok, can you say which is bigger? It’s obvious to deduct that Greenland is bigger, even much bigger than Australia. What if I tell you that Australia is nearly three and a half times larger than Greenland? Why then such huge, huge difference in the map? Well, Mercator Projections Algorithm is using angle approximations and equations, which are getting larger and larger when you are moving from the Equator to any of the two poles. In fact, when you reach the poles the equations will be with infinity values. The closer to the Equator, the small you will be. The further – the bigger. Now let’s use fixed values of the equations (using Gall-Peters Projection Algorithm).

What a tremendous difference, huh? Now redo the comparison between Greenland and Australia. The world map is looking ugly, but that’s it. That’s the real world around us. Now what our team did? We just launched the fourth game in our site! The game is based on Mercator Projection Algorithm and it's using modern Google Maps API technologies (I thanks to Bramus for supplying the source code and API’s implementations).

Drag the countries boundaries to their original locations.

Mercator Puzzle Game