• 13 June 2024

Hidden Realities: Unmasking the True World Map and the Secrets Behind Historical Distortions

Jan 25, 2024

The maps we commonly use, designed centuries ago, might not be as truthful as we think. In this exploration, we uncover the hidden realities behind the world maps we know. Gerardus Mercator, the inventor of these maps in 1596, aimed for correct shapes but unintentionally distorted sizes, especially favoring certain wealthy territories. Now, a climate data scientist named Neil R Kaye has created an animated map that reveals the genuine sizes of countries, challenging our perceptions and unmasking the secrets behind historical map distortions. Let’s delve into the journey of discovering the true world map and the surprises it holds.

True World Map -Mercator Projections with country

Surprising Facts

  • Africa vs. Greenland: Africa, 14 times larger than Greenland, appears almost equal on the Mercator map.
  • Brazil vs. Alaska: The Mercator projection misrepresents Brazil, showing Alaska as larger despite Brazil being over five times its actual size.
  • Russia’s Size: Russia is smaller than Africa, contrary to the larger portrayal on the Mercator map.

Mercator Projections and Reality

Mercator Projections-True World Map
Reality -True World Map

Alaska’s Size Perception:

  • Perception: Alaska seemed as large as 1/2 of the continental US.
  • Reality: Alaska is only about 1/5 the size of the lower 48 states.

Greenland’s Size Perception

  • Perception: Greenland appears very big.
  • Reality: Greenland is nowhere near the size of the continent of Africa.

Mercator Projection Distortion

  • Projection: Commonly used for computer maps, forming rectangles with perpendicular latitude and longitude lines.
  • Distortion: Areas far from the equator, like Greenland, Russia, and Canada, appear much larger than they are.

Pole Proximity Distortion

  • Issue: Closer to the poles, more distortion occurs in Mercator projection.
  • Consequence: As one moves closer to the poles, the stretching effect widens and alters the apparent sizes of parts of countries.

Graphical Representation

  • Graph: Shows each country plotted with actual land area vs. Mercator apparent land area.
  • Overestimate: Countries farther from the 1:1 line indicate a greater overestimate of their size in the Mercator projection.

Top 10 Overestimated Countries

  • Greenland
    • Area Difference: 6,213,884 sq. km.
    • Percentage Reduction: 73.9%.
    • Significance: Greenland’s apparent size is overestimated by nearly three-quarters in the Mercator projection.
  • Russia
    • Area Difference: 19,428,896 sq. km.
    • Percentage Reduction: 53.4%.
    • Remarkable: The vast landmass of Russia is substantially downsized in the Mercator representation.
  • Norway
    • Area Difference: 727,422 sq. km.
    • Percentage Reduction: 64.8%.
    • Insight: Norway’s actual size is significantly smaller than its depiction in the Mercator projection.
  • Iceland
    • Area Difference: 147,701 sq. km.
    • Percentage Reduction: 57.9%.
    • Noteworthy: Iceland’s true size is substantially reduced compared to its Mercator representation.
  • Finland
    • Area Difference: 451,245 sq. km.
    • Percentage Reduction: 57.0%.
    • Impact: Mercator projection diminishes Finland’s size by more than half.
  • Sweden
    • Area Difference: 536,088 sq. km.
    • Percentage Reduction: 54.4%.
    • Observation: Sweden experiences a significant reduction in apparent size under the Mercator projection.
  • Canada
    • Area Difference: 11,228,532 sq. km.
    • Percentage Reduction: 52.9%.
    • Notable: Canada’s true size is almost halved in the Mercator projection.
  • Estonia
    • Area Difference: 41,067 sq. km.
    • Percentage Reduction: 48.0%.
    • Insight: Estonia’s geographical scale is significantly misrepresented in the Mercator map.
  • Latvia
    • Area Difference: 52,725 sq. km.
    • Percentage Reduction: 45.3%.
    • Impact: Latvia experiences a considerable reduction in size when viewed through the Mercator lens.
  • Denmark
    • Area Difference: 33,755 sq. km.
    • Percentage Reduction: 44.2%.
    • Noteworthy: Denmark’s land area is substantially reduced in the Mercator projection.
  • Original Graph vs. New Coordinates
    • Original Graph: Incorrectly preserves the Mercator shape while changing sizes.
    • New Coordinates: Derive accurate ‘real size’ coordinates by considering the shrinking of the distance between longitude lines toward the poles.
  • Calculation Method
    • Area Calculation: Done assuming latitude and longitude as rectangular coordinates (Mercator) and actual area.
    • Distance Adjustment: New coordinates are derived by calculating the distance between the center of the polygon and each set of coordinates, considering latitude-based shrinking.

Conclusion

In uncovering the secrets behind historical distortions and revealing the true world map, we come to realize the significance of questioning what we know. “Hidden Realities” encourages us to embrace a more accurate understanding of our world, one that transcends biases and unveils the interconnectedness of nations and cultures. As we unmask these hidden truths, we pave the way for a more enlightened and inclusive perspective on our shared global history.

Also, read https://thelogicalpie.com/silent-predators-counting-the-cost-of-indias-wildlife-encounters/world/

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