The Real Size of Countries and Continents on a World Map

Have you ever looked at a map and wondered how the actual geographical size of one country compares to another?

This map illustrates just how big Africa is! The USA, India, and China can all fit within the continent.
The accuracy of globes and world maps can vary quite a bit. For instance, why does Greenland look enormous on some maps yet relatively small on others? Is it really that big, and if so, why isn’t it considered a continent? Well, it’s not actually that big- the map makers just messed up the scale (or maybe didn’t care enough to pay attention to details, I’m not certain).

Most world maps we use today are based on the Mercator projection, which has dealt with accuracy questions since it’s debut in 1569. Needless to say, in the 1500s it was probably even more difficult to pin down the correct measurements of continents than it is today.¬†Even though it’s far from perfect, the Mercator is still the foundation that is used for most maps in modern times.

However, there are some ways to compare geographical sizes without having to go through too much trouble.

There is a fun tool called the True Size Map that lets you drag and drop one country or continent over another to illustrate an accurate comparison in landmass. It shows the square miles for each place, so you can compare down to an even more defined level.

More Information:

We also found this video that exposes many of the issues you find when you look a globe or map. It’s educational and entertaining!

So there you go. The next time you look at a world map or spin a globe, remember, Greenland is definitely NOT as large as it might appear.

(We still have it on our bucket list, though!)

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The Real Size of Countries and Continents on a World Map