Skip to content
¿Quieres enmarcar algo? | Envíos a todo el Mundo | Pago en Cuotas
¿Quieres enmarcar algo? | Envíos a todo el Mundo | Pago en Cuotas
¿Por qué todos los mapas del Mundo están mal? - Mappin

Why are all the world maps wrong?

Going from a sphere (or semi-sphere) to a plane is difficult, since the dimensions are different. If you try to take apart a globe it will be very difficult to get the surface completely flat, having already cut several parts and stretched it.

Since the year 1500, mathematicians created algorithms to translate the world visually into something flat. For that they used something called “projection”.

The popular rectangular maps use a cylindrical projection. Imagine putting a cylinder around the earth and each point on the earth is projected onto the cylinder.

If you then unroll the cylinder you are left with a flat rectangular map.

But the big problem is that each of these projections comes with changes in shape, distance, and land areas.

Some maps can be tricky or very useful depending on what you are using it for.

An example of the map is the so-called Mercator projection (named after Mr. Gerardus Mercator, in the 16th century).

You probably saw this type of map in school, and it is very popular as it maintains the shape of most of the countries. But its real purpose is to aid in navigation by keeping directions, which is a great thing if you want to navigate an entire ocean with just one compass. In fact today it is used as a GPS base for Google Maps.

The problem with this type of projection is the conservation of sizes. If we compare, for example, the size of Africa with Greenland, they are very similar in size, but if we look at them on the globe, it is clear that Greenland is smaller than Africa.

You have the option, if you want to see a map that has more correct sizes, to use the Gall-Peters projection , also called the “equal area” map. However, the shape of the countries is not the most precise, because they are narrower, we can see it again with the example of Greenland.

In the 1960s the whole purpose of making maps and how to use the different projections changed . Man created satellites that orbit our planet, and they began to send location and navigation data to small receiving units around the world.

This global positioning system erased the need for maps as a means of navigation, both the seas and the sky. Today they are used more in areas of design or aesthetics (and cool brands like Mappin that are rescuing them).

There are going to be many ways to project the earth to its flat form. However, there is no 100% correct projection. Cartographers and mathematicians have created a vast library of available projections, each with a new projection of the planet.

The best way to see the earth as it really is is through the globe. But as long as we're using flat maps we're going to have to deal with changes in projections. Remember: there is no correct answer.

Do you want to see Earth Globes? Look what we have here. Click on the image.

Content extracted from:

Vox Video Lab.

Stuff of genius

Previous article Rosario Mena: Beyond the surface: a great seabed
Next article FRANCISCA CORREA: The Surreal Eden

Leave a comment

* Required fields