True size of Africa

Topics: Map projection, Gerardus Mercator, Google Maps Pages: 1 (412 words) Published: October 22, 2014

(http://static02.mediaite.com/geekosystem/uploads/2010/10/true-size-of-africa.jpg) One month ago Kai Krause, a computer-graphics guru, started a turmoil with a map named “The True Size of Africa” (http://static02.mediaite.com/geekosystem/uploads/2010/10/true-size-of-africa.jpg) which shows several countries stuffed into the silhouette of the continent of Africa. Krause’s intend was to assemble “a small contribution in the fight against rampant Immappancy.” (G.D. 2010). He wanted to show that individuals do not notice how the Mercator projection of the world that can be found everywhere disfigures the actual mass of landmasses. The earth is round. This is a known fact. When one tries to place the spherical shape of the earth on a flat sheet of paper, the components on the map will be disfigured. Some areas are projected correctly but then the sizes and scales are inaccurate. Some may maintain the form of a country but confuse the zones within. More about this can be found on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Map_projection).#The protrusion Gerardus Mercator brought out in 1569 was found to be helpful instantaneous due to its factors that make it useful for marine navigation. A flaw in this map is that the shapes and areas of landmasses are twisted. The closer you get to the poles, the worse this becomes, for example, on the Mercator map Greenland is the same size as the continent of Africa, though Africa is at least 14 times larger than Greenland. These problems weren’t relevant for the 16th century sailors, so the Mercator map rests popular till present day. In the map shown above, Krause’s map, the forms of the countries on the Mercator map are used, yet the scale of Africa is increased to the realistic size. The shape is not changed, but now one can see what the correct area is. “An alternative and arguably more rigorous approach would be to repeat the exercise using an "equal area" projection that shows the countries' areas correctly while...
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