The earth is round and therefore the challenge of any world map is to represent a round earth on a flat surface. But have our world maps been wrong or misleading for 500 years? It seems as though they have. Although the featured clip in this article is from ‘The West Wing’, the inaccuracies of the world maps we commonly use is anything but fictional. The clip below reveals an accurate look at the size of Africa and how a world map might better reflect its size.
When first coming across this myself I was surprised to see how off it was, but after thinking of how populated Africa is, the land mass itself, and how many countries are in Africa, it became easy to see how big it has to be.
The map shows how Africa (30,3 million km²) is larger than the combination of China (9,6 million km²), the US (9,4 million km²), Western Europe (4,9 million km²), India (3,2 million km²) and Argentina (2,8 million km²), three Scandinavian countries and the British Isles (map gives no surface for these last two areas). Map Source
The Peters Projection World Map
The Peters Projection World Map is one of the most stimulating, and controversial, images of the world. When this map was first introduced by historian and cartographer Dr. Arno Peters at a Press Conference in Germany in 1974 it generated a firestorm of debate. The first English-version of the map was published in 1983, and it continues to have passionate fans as well as angry detractors.
There are thousands of map projections. Each has certain strengths and corresponding weaknesses. Choosing among them is an exercise in values clarification: you have to decide what’s important to you. That is generally determined by the way you intend to use the map. In the case of Peters map, it is an area accurate map.
It is true that a simple change in the look of a map can cause a reconsideration of your fixed ideas about a place.