Very interesting to see how small were in fact the dwarf five European barbaric nations that colonized the entire planet committing an infinite number of genocides, atrocities, and cultural vandalism.
Boston public schools recently announced that they will shift to using world maps based on the Peters projection, reportedly the first time a US public school district has done so. Why? Because the Peters projection accurately shows different countries’ relative sizes. Although it distorts countries’ shapes, this way of drawing a world map avoids exaggerating the size of developed nations in Europe and North America and reducing the size of less developed countries in Asia, Africa and South America.
This is what happens with the more commonly used Mercator projection, which exaggerates the size of the Earth around the poles and shrinks it around the equator. So the developed “global North” appears bigger than reality, and equatorial regions, which tend to be less developed, appear smaller. It’s especially problematic given that the first world maps based on the Mercator projection were produced by European colonialists.
Why does this problem occur? Simply put, the world is round and a map is flat. Imagine drawing a world map on an orange, peeling the skin to leave a single piece and then flattening it. It would, of course, rip. But imagine you could stretch it. As you did so, the map drawn on its surface would distort.
The distortions this introduces are massive. And different projections distort maps in different ways. The Mercator projection depicts Greenland as larger than Africa. But, in reality, Africa is 14 times the size of Greenland. It alters the way you see the size – and, some people argue, the way you see the importance – of different parts of the world. So this isn’t just a cartographer’s dilemma – it’s a political problem.
The Renaissance cartographer Gerardus Mercator did this to preserve the shapes of countries, so the map could be used to accurately calculate compass bearings. Accurate compass bearings are very important if you are a 16th century seafarer. But if you want a better idea of the relative size of the world’s landmasses, you need a map that distorts shape but preserves area, like the Peters projection does.