Why do flat maps distort the shape of the earth?

If a map preserves area, then the size of a feature on a map is the same relative to its size on the earth. To look at it another way, a coin moved to different spots on the map represents the same amount of actual ground no matter where you put it. In an equal-area map, the shapes of most features are distorted.

Why is a map a not good model of the earth?

– A map is a good model of the Earth because it can show more detail and smaller objects than a globe. – A map is easier and more convenient to carry around than a globe. A map is not a good model of the Earth because it is not the same shape as the Earth, so objects are distorted when they are flattened out.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a Mercator projection?

Advantage: The Mercator map projection shows the correct shapes of the continents and directions accurately. Disadvantage: The Mercator map projection does not show true distances or sizes of continents, especially near the north and south poles.

What is the Mercator projection best used for?

The Mercator projection was mainly used for maps. This made it possible for the entire globe to be drawn on a flat sheet. It is also used for marine navigation since the lines of constant direction appear as straight lines on the map.

Why Greenland is shown bigger on a map?

However, Greenland looks bigger than China because it is close to the North Pole and China being closer to the equator. Similarly, look at an equatorial country like Egypt (1,002,450 sq km). On a normal global map, it looks almost the same size as a north European country like, say Finland (338,424 sq km).

How do all maps lie?

All maps inherently include white lies and subtle misrepresentations: these white lies are fundamental to the very act of mapping! The Mercator projection was created by Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator in 1569 and is used in many settings, from classrooms to Google Maps and other online services.

What does the Mercator projection preserve?

Although the linear scale is equal in all directions around any point, thus preserving the angles and the shapes of small objects, the Mercator projection distorts the size of objects as the latitude increases from the equator to the poles, where the scale becomes infinite.

Do maps always tell the truth?

They can illustrate any multitude of things, from migration patterns of Canadian geese to fluctuations in the earth’s gravitational field, but every map must show us something about the earth upon which we live. Maps lie, to tell the truth. They lie in order to make a point.

What are the pros and cons of using a Mercator map projection?


  • Pros: Sailors loved it; preserves angles and directions in a small area.
  • Cons: Bad for understanding the real size and shape of continents and countries.
  • Related: After this video you’ll never trust a map again.
  • Pros: The only ‘area-correct’ map of its time; got featured in The West Wing (S2E16)

What is the most accurate map projection?

A globe of the Earth would have an error score of 0.0. We found that the best previously known flat map projection for the globe is the Winkel tripel used by the National Geographic Society, with an error score of 4.563.

Which country owns Greenland?

Kingdom of Denmark

What is the biggest problem with the Mercator projection?

Because the linear scale of a Mercator map increases with latitude, it distorts the size of geographical objects far from the equator and conveys a distorted perception of the overall geometry of the planet.

Why isn’t Greenland a continent?

All these things clearly signify that it’s a humongous country, so the question is: why isn’t it a continent? Greenland is considered to be part of the North American continent. This is because it lies on the North American Tectonic plate. And yet the country is politically part of Denmark, which is part of Europe.

What are round representations of the Earth called?

A globe is a spherical model of Earth, of some other celestial body, or of the celestial sphere. Globes serve purposes similar to some maps, but unlike maps, do not distort the surface that they portray except to scale it down. A model globe of Earth is called a terrestrial globe.

Who uses the Mercator projection?

This projection is widely used for navigation charts, because any straight line on a Mercator projection map is a line of constant true bearing that enables a navigator to plot a straight-line course.

Do all maps have distortions?

Since any map projection is a representation of one of those surfaces on a plane, all map projections distort.

Why does Africa look smaller on maps?

The world map you are probably familiar with is called the Mercator projection (below), which was developed all the way back in 1569 and greatly distorts the relative areas of land masses. It makes Africa look tiny, and Greenland and Russia appear huge.

Why is Mercator projection bad?

Mercator maps distort the shape and relative size of continents, particularly near the poles. The popular Mercator projection distorts the relative size of landmasses, exaggerating the size of land near the poles as compared to areas near the equator.

Which is the most accurate way to show the earth?


Why do some maps have distortion?

Flattening the Earth Likewise with the Earth—if we want to make a map, we need to distort the Earth’s surface to flatten it. The good news is that map projections allow us to distort systematically; we know exactly how things are being stretched or squashed at any given point.

How can bias affect maps?

All maps distort reality and convey bias (whether deliberately or not). With modern mapmaking software, choosing a different and perhaps more appropriate projection, depending on the area to be displayed, should be much easier.

Why is the Mercator projection map still in use today?

Why is the Mercator projection map still in use today? It is useful to sailors because, although size and shape are distorted, it shows directions accurately. Each type of map is particularly useful in some capacity. Conic projections are good for small-scale maps such as road maps.

How can a map be misleading?

Flattening Earth’s image requires that parts of it be extensively stretched, in width and height, resulting in four highly significant distortions: size, shape, direction and distance. The larger the area covered, and the farther it is from the equator, the greater the distortions (especially east-west).