⚡ Our world map is broken — see the real size of countries with an interactive map.

A screen grab from the "True Size of" website, showing the real sizes of land massesThe true size of… | Website

The world map that we’re all used to seeing is totally distorted. The Mercator projection, the basis for the world map that we see in atlases, on Google maps and pretty much everywhere else, distorts the size of land masses.

To be more specific, the closer that a Mercator map gets to the North or South pole, the larger that land masses appear. So land masses that are relatively close to a pole (Europe, the US, Russia and others) appear bigger than they actually are whilst land masses close to the equator (Africa, parts of South America and SE Asia) appear smaller than they actually are.

You can see the huge effect these distortions can have by comparing the sizes of Greenland and Africa. Zoom all the way out on Google Maps and it looks like they’re around the same size… but in reality Africa is actually more than 14 times bigger. Seriously, 14 times — Greenland’s land mass is 2.2m km², Africa’s is 30.4m km². Crazy.

If that fact blows your mind, you’ll probably be interested in playing around to see how big other land masses actually are. The perfect tool for that is thetruesize.com, an interactive map that allows you to drag the outline of individual countries around the map, changing their size as you go. You can grab Greenland and drag it down to Africa, watching as it shrinks and shrinks. And then you can grab Russia and comfortably fit that inside Africa too. Seriously, Africa is huge. If you love this website anywhere near as much as me, you’ll have lots of fun.

LINK: https://thetruesize.com

BONUS: If you want a nice infographic showing how big Africa really is, check out this post.