Also interesting to see both Russia and USA fit inside of Africa, more or less. I always thought Russia was much bigger.
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.
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.
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."
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.
Any respectable map publisher would use something like Winkel-Tripel or Robinson for a map of the world.
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.
We have webgl now. Project a globe as google maps does when you zoom out.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
There is no 2d projection that can get everything right.
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