The Google Map Is An Inaccurate Lie!
- Look at the world map taken from Google maps above. Looks familiar, right?
- Look at that huge land to North America‘s upper right. That’s Greenland.
- Look at Africa; it seems like Africa is about the size of Greenland.
Now consider this fact:
Africa is 14 times larger than Greenland.
Now look at the Google map again. What the hell is going on? Answer after the jump.
The world map that you and I are so familiar with is a very old cylindrical map projection, the Mercator projection, created in 1569.
Although this map serves its navigational purposes, it greatly misrepresents size relations between different areas. There is no sensible reason to use it for educational, geostatistical and thematic purposes. Not only is Africa depicted as being similar size as Greenland,
- Europe seems to be larger than South America when South America is actually almost twice the size of Europe.
- Alaska appears to be three times larger than Mexico, although Mexico actually is larger than Alaska.
- Russia seems to be larger than Africa when the opposite is true in reality
- The Northern Hemisphere is enlarged significantly making Europe appears to be larger and center of the map.
While it is impossible to create an absolutely accurate map by flattening out the Earth’s land masses, there are projections that do a MUCH better job of displaying the true size relations between land masses.
The Mercator Projection distorts the world, giving the false impression that Greenland is the size of South America, Asia is ginormous and Alaska is bigger than Mexico – all inaccuracies that are being presented by Google. Google’s reputation for accuracy means that these distortions are reinforced in our conscience as facts.
The Mercator Projection is 440 years old and provided one practical purpose – bearings can be accurately drawn. The utility of this begins and ends with nautical navigation – clearly not the primary purpose of Google maps.
I urge Google to be responsible with the world’s knowledge and follow the advice of numerous cartographic associations that request that the Mercator Project not be used. For anything. Ever.
if you zoom out of any google map you will notice a huge difference in sizes and incredible inaccuracies for example, according to google maps Greenland is bigger than South America. and Antartica looks like its the size of North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia combined. Why would Google start off with the most outdated map known as Mercator’s Map of the 18th century and not go with the most accurate map out there known as the Cahill-Keyes map made in 1975
The world deserves to know what the world really looks like rather than a distorted perception of the world.
A Google employee’s response:
D view of the world.
Okay, so the Winkel tripel projection doesn’t work because of the angles; but what about the Gall-Peters projection?
Different map projections serve different purposes and all of them have distortion of some kind. However, the distortions in the Mercator projection are pretty ridiculous considering its popularity. I see parallels between the Mercator Map and our old common senses. Even when we know they’re bull, we continue to use them and teach them to our children for our own comfort. Maybe we should try sticking this on the wall for a change:
Of course, the most accurate world map is a globe. You could see it at http://earth.google.com/.
At last, I’ll leave you with this video clip from The West Wing: