All maps are inheritly wrong. One way or the other, the curved earth must be projected to flat paper, with inevitable distortions, especially at the edges. Mapmakers need to balance that act somehow. Bringing in one property inevitably creates larger distortions in other properties. As you can imagine, the larger the area covered, the larger the influence of the curvature of the earth.


Our best know world map is made using the Mercator projection. It’s most important property is that it is angle-stable: a straight line on the map will represent a constant compass angle all along the trajectory, a very important property for navigation. It is not that strange Mercator was devised in 1569, as mainly a navigational map. A side effect of the Mercator projection is a disproportional size distortion. Greenland is roughly the same as Africa, while in reality, Africa is 13 times bigger. Europe and the United States are conveniently larger than “developing” areas, as compared to reality. Note that in most maps, a part of the bottom is cut off, psycologically “centering” the Northern hemisphere further.

Peters world map

Peters world map, which is size accurate (but not shape) has drawn a lot of controversy, but it’s quite shocking to see.


Goode projection is sorta kinda best of both worlds. Adjust your world image please and give this map a good look. Might be humbling a bit.

Note: there are literally hundreds of different projections, each having their strength and weaknesses.