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Maps

THR

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Has anyone else thought about one thing which I find rather disturbing? I mean the way how even today´s maps are terribly inaccurate when it comes to the size of different countries in relation to others. Most maps are terribly Europe-centred and make European countries to appear far larger than they actually are.

I know the main explanation being that the Earth being round it distorts how large some places on the globe appear to be than what the reality is but that does not explain it all.

It seems that immediate neighboroughs are in right relation to one another. Britain, Ireland and the Nordic countries are just about the right relation to each other that they are in reality.

However, looking at the map it is difficult to believe that France and Spain are more than twice the size of Britain. Sweden is always huge on maps. Sweden is alarge country but it is still smaller than France which on maps is clearly smaller.

When comparing European countries on the map to indeed immense countries like Australia, Brazil, India etc, Britain looks like something 1/3 of the size of Brazil when in reality Britain is about 1/30 the size of Brazil.

The earth being round and reflection distorting the appearance-explanation does not really wholly wash with me.

My work-mate is just about to soon travel to Brazil. I´ve told him that he must realise that it is a huge country. Looking at the map, one wouldn´t believe it is.
 


Colmog

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reminds me of a great episode of the West Wing. The one where CJ has to meet with a group called something like "Organisation of Cartographers for Social Equality" on Big Block of cheese day.

Apparently the world map as we know it is also upside down if that is to be believed?
 

Pidge

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Colmog said:
Apparently the world map as we know it is also upside down if that is to be believed?
I think it's that there's no good reason to have north at the top. There's no "top" or "bottom" to the Earth, since we usually define such things in terms of the ground.

The Peter's Projection is interesting though:
 

Colmog

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QuizMaster said:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peters_projection
Yeah, that was it...apart from the upside down stuff!
 

Pidge

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Ah, the West Wing. Bless it.

<object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/efjcrbNcW6s&rel=1"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/efjcrbNcW6s&rel=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>

And part two:

<object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/ZRtN4UK1wHk&rel=1"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/ZRtN4UK1wHk&rel=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>
 

michael1965

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Ah yes, the first conspiracy theory I ever heard, was the one about those maps, with the British Empire coloured in pink, artificially distorted to make the empire look bigger than it really is.

Problem is that the Mercator projection (Mercator being a 17c, Belgian dude) is the most useful one for navigation. And old blighty was a bit of a naval power in the old days. Anyway ....
 

THR

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Africa is certainly artificially made smaller than it is. I understand that on round surface some areas seem larger than they actually are but if one country in reality is 5 times as large as another but on the map they appear similar-sized, that is already artificial distortion.
 

michael1965

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THR said:
Africa is certainly artificially made smaller than it is. I understand that on round surface some areas seem larger than they actually are but if one country in reality is 5 times as large as another but on the map they appear similar-sized, that is already artificial distortion.
Check out the wikepedia article about the Mercator projection for the reason behind it. Any projection of a 3D surface onto a 2D map will result in some distortion. Mercator makes places close to the equator small and places close to the poles large, but its benefit is that you can plot a course between any two points on the map, and the compass directions will be accurate. That's the historical reason for it, not to make the third world look smaller.
 

THR

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Indeed, speaking of the equator, Ecuador islarger than Britain but looking at the map, one wouldn´t believe it.
 

Geekzilla

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QuizMaster said:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peters_projection
The Peters projection has been well-promoted, but the fact is that no one map projection is suitable for all purposes.

Some maps, called cartograms, aren't based on map projections at all and show various features (e.g. population) in terms of area.
 

gahane

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KingKane said:
Hey what are we doing taking advice from an alien and one with 3 wives at that!
Or worse, a serial killer who likes to stuff and mount the heads of his victims :D
 

CookieMonster

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Didn't we have a thread on this not so long ago.

I'm a map freak but I'm not going through all that again!
 

CookieMonster

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THR said:
CookieMonster said:
Aye, we did (comfirming I'm not any madder than has been previously established).


http://www.politics.ie/viewtopic.php?t=27215
Sorry CM! Had I known this topic had been talked through before, I wouldn´t have started again.
In fairness to you the other thread started off as something else but was hijacked by mappy nerdyness. I'm an awful lot of fun at parties, honest.
 


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