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The True Size Of (thetruesize.com)
155 points by slowhand09 40 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 49 comments

As a Swede, it was mind blowing to see that California is nearly the same size area wise, but about four times larger in population. Plenty of room for us to grow still!

Also interesting to see both Russia and USA fit inside of Africa, more or less.[1] I always thought Russia was much bigger.

[1]: https://thetruesize.com/#?borders=1~!MTY2NjQzMjQ.MTYzNzcxMQ*...

You can rotate with the compass widget on the bottom-left


I was looking for a way to do this, thanks! :o)

Cool, I hadn't noticed that.

Well, Sweden is really really sparsely populated. As are Norway and Finland, the latter of which I hail from. The northern parts are simply wilderness.

What I thought was interesting was that the south of Sweden is as far away from north of Sweden as it is from Rome.

Also, the distance between the northern and southern tips seems to be around the distance between Chicago and New Orleans, which is a road trip I did earlier this year. Even did the drive back, by way of the great smoky mountains and other sights – great trip! Clocked 3330 miles, thankfully the rental included unlimited miles!

Edit: the reason I mention this is because I've wanted to do the north to south – or vice versa – Sweden trip for years, just always thought it was too long to do on my own. For some reason (Mercator projection, let's just be honest) I didn't think Chicago to NOLA would be that big a deal. It wasn't trivial, but also the distance wasn't really that bad, so I think I finally will do the cross Sweden trip at some point now.

The worst thing about Russia in that regard is that Russian people think it's much bigger too, and if you exclude uninhabitable territories, it gets even smaller. But establishment liked to bargain about geographical size for centuries so it's really hard to change the narrative now.

It may not as big as it looks due to Mercator, but Russia is still the world’s largest country by a very large margin (almost a factor of two).

Warning: this utterly destroyed by navigation history.

It made me discover that you can select a range in Chrome history by Shift-clicking the end.

Yep. Mine, too. Weird. Also, I'd have to use a magnifying glass to be able to read anything on the site (Chrome on iPad)

I like that you can compare individual US states to various countries, but it would love to be able to compare individual Australia states as well (Hint: I live in AU). It was interesting to see that Alaska is about the size of Western Australia.

Having always heard that we can fit 20 United Kingdoms in the Northern Territory (the state, oh, all right, territory, where I live), I wanted to check that out for myself against the UK and other countries.

According to Wikipedia, the UK is 242,495 km², and Northern Territory is 1,420,970 km², so you can only fit it 5.86 times. The whole of Australia is 7,692,024 km², so you can fit the UK 31.7 times in that.

This is a bit off-topic, but one aspect (among many others) of HN that I really appreciate is that there aren't any snide remarks pointing out how this is a repost (I'm not suggesting that's what you're doing); no one here cares. If you've seen it before, great, perhaps you could contribute to the conversation in this current thread based off your learnings the last time around. If you haven't seen it before, here you go. I hope it always stays this way.

Dan (dang) is one of the mods here and a chill dude, so you won't see many snide remarks from him. :-)

In fact it's encouraged to post links to previous discussions. It doesn't mean "you shouldn't have posted this duplicate", it means (or should mean) "if you find this interesting, you may find these previous discussions interesting too."

I honestly didn't know. I didn't search for it. Just posted vi the bookmarklet. BTW, would be a cool feature to add to the bookmarklet, to say previously posted, post again y/N.

I did something like this as a joke some time ago, but I used the outline of a Brazilian municipality (Alegrete) and wrote a parody of Saramago's "Jangada de Pedra" (The Stone Raft).


I think I broke Canada.... I dragged it all the way to the South Pole and it exploded to the size of the whole world.

There probably should be a check so you can’t drag a country below 90°.

There's no wall at the South Pole, so dragging a country across should just make it come back on the other side. That's actually what's happening here, except that the color ends up on the wrong side of the outline.

My guess is that the drawing code tries to correct the orientation of its input to avoid drawing shapes inside-out, which fails when the outline stretches across the full width of the map.

You can't fool me round-earther. /s

My 8-year old son told me about this site. It's the first site I've ever discovered based on my kid's word-of-mouth. He's crazy about geography and loves to compare the area of different countries and make trick questions out of the comparison: "Daddy, which is bigger, the Philippines or the state of Arizona?" (Answer: they're almost the same size)

Just don't use inappropriate map projections. Problem solved.

Any respectable map publisher would use something like Winkel-Tripel or Robinson for a map of the world.

I'm not sure there are inappropriate map projections. Or maybe there are no appropriate map projections. Either way, every single projection has its uses and its shortcomings. Mercator is misleading for a map of the whole world, but it's excellent for navigation and for local detail.

For a good overview of the whole world, I prefer a map that shows the world is round, but they break down as soon as you zoom in.

> Or maybe there are no appropriate map projections.

We have webgl now. Project a globe as google maps does when you zoom out.

Well, that's new to me. I was going to reply that Google Maps simply used Mercator when you zoomed out, exactly because Mercator works so well when you zoom in on the local scale, which is 99.9% of the use of Google Maps.

But I figured I'd check first. No idea when they changed this, but it's pretty awesome. I wanted to say it'll probably be a while before classrooms can have those kind of maps, but all classrooms I'm aware of already have an electronic screen as board, so they already have it.

I guess that makes the whole discussion pretty much moot now.

"map projection" refers to a transformation from the globe to a plane. If you give up and just use a globe, that supports mcv's point that there are no appropriate map projections.

An orthographic projection onto a screen is still a projection, it is not area-preserving, so it is not perfect just like other maps.

But unlike other maps you have the option to rotate any place on the map into the center where the distortions are minimal.

Plus humans have intuitive awareness of how looking at a sphere distorts things, which is something other maps obscure.

That's what the BBC weather forecasts did a few years ago when they upgraded their technology. However, the virtual camera orientation shrank Scotland and resulted in complaints.


Any respectable publisher includes multiple projections of the world in their atlas, with an explanation section describing each at the beginning (i.e. which one is angle-preserving, which one is area-preserving, etc).

It’s beyond me why people seem to be baffled by the area distortion of the Mercator projection - is this not taught in high school geography classes in the USA?

Anecdata, sample size one: High school classes in the US tend to teach the abstracted surface level topic but rarely delve into the why's and how's.

In geography, we would learn what's on the map, not how the map was created and the different projections a map can have.

Because of this weird system, I feel the Mercator projection would be most relevant in... A geometry course? And as silly as it is, that was indeed my initial reaction to your comment, which made me laugh.

So map projections are in limbo between course subjects. I think that's why the Mercator projection is basically meme status -- That blind spot in education hits us all by surprise, it seems dead obvious, and so it tickles the funny bone.

Of course, but I'm referring to the common case where only one map can be provided. Say you want to buy a world map to decorate your living room: https://shop.nationalgeographic.com/collections/world-maps/p...

Or simple when the map itself is secondary to the information presented on the map.

Regarding your second map, I remember clearly in my geography classes the teacher refused to show us a simple map of the world (always a globe) until we actually learned about projections. It was a bit extreme but effective at conveying the fact that all projections distort things one way or another.

We were never taught it, as far as I can recall. I had to start playing around with GIS stuff before I really learned about map projections.

Knowing that it is area distortion projection and overcoming your prejudice if you've never seen anything else isn't the same thing. For example European people have a feeling that something is wrong with the map when Europe portrait as small as it actually is.

>if you've never seen anything else

Which is pretty strange, considering most classrooms and even homes have a globe laying around.

Maybe I’m just severely overestimating the scientific knowledge of the average person.

I would hazard a guess that people’s intuition with shapes on a flat surface works better than their intuition on a curved surface, even though a globe is physically available.

If they have a paper map, it will be Robinson or Winkel-Tripel, probably.

Unless you care about New Zealand, because then those are terrible. They totally distort the shape into something weird.

There is no 2d projection that can get everything right.

Easy solution: just leave it off entirely!


Obligatory: https://xkcd.com/977/

The one that really shocked me was typing "Russia" and then dragging Russia over the United States.

Finding out that Russia is just as wide as Africa is tall was a nice surprise as well.

I used to play with this site like a year ago when I was traveling.

It's funny to see we always assumed some countries are much smaller/larger than what they are only because we got used to the structure of the traditional map

I wish I could compare municipalities. I just moved Toronto -> New York and it's been fun to wrap my head around a new urbanscape.

This is really useful and interesting. Thank you!

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