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How the Mercator Projection                            •  Alaska appears to be the same size as Australia, although
                                                                 Australia is actually 4-1/2 times as large.
        Distorts Our World From Wikipedia                      •   Alaska  also  takes  as  much  area  on  the  map  as  Brazil,
                                                                 whereas Brazil’s area is nearly 5 times that of Alaska.
           he Mercator projection is a cylindrical map projection pre-
        Tsented by Flemish geographer and cartographer Gerar-  •  Madagascar and Great Britain look about the same size,
        dus Mercator  in 1569. It became the standard map pro-   while Madagascar is actually more than twice as large as
        jection for navigation because it is unique in representing   the largest of the British Isles.
        north as up and south as down everywhere while preserving  •  Sweden appears much larger than Madagascar. In reality
        local directions and shapes. The map is thereby conformal.   Madagascar is a little larger.
        As a side effect, the Mercator projection inflates the size of   • This map shows the actual size of continents and countries
        objects away from the equator. This inflation is very small
        near the equator but accelerates with increasing latitude to   in comparison to their size using a Mercator Projection. n
        become infinite at the poles. As a result, landmasses such
        as Greenland and Antarctica appear far larger than they ac-
        tually are relative to landmasses near the equator, such as
        Central Africa.
        For instance:
        • Antarctica  appears to be extremely large. If the entire
          globe were mapped, Antarctica would inflate infinitely. In
          reality, it is the third smallest continent.
        • Greenland appears the same size as Africa, when in reality
          Africa’s area is 14 times as large.

        • Greenland’s real area is comparable to the  Democratic
          Republic of the Congo’s alone.
        •   Africa  appears  to  be  roughly  the  same  size  as  South
          America, when in reality Africa is over one and a half times
          as large.

        www . LSA W. or g                                                                                         19
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