Why are we still using a heavily distorted world map?


Many documentaries seem to agree that the world map we currently use is far from accurate, and it’s misrepresenting the size (and even shape) of many continents, islands and countries. It’s using an outdated projection technique called ” Mercator projection ” that was mainly used for sailing back in the 16th century. Why aren’t we using a map that’s more up to date? Can maps like “thetruesize” website be relied upon?

In: 2

We do use a map that is more up to date. The GPS mapping that you use is extremely accurate, and distorts nothing. However, it can’t be projected onto a flat piece of paper. For that, you need a projection, like….the mercator projection. We use that because of the limitations of traditional (paper) display tech, not because we’re afraid to move away from it.

In school I think it’s just to branching point for the younger student to get a feel for simple geography. But ik some people think it’s to purely put America as #1.

You can’t render a three dimensional sphere onto a flat surface without distortions of some sort. Mercator is certainly not the best, but it’s the one most people are familiar with, and none of them are much better, so we stick with it.

There is no 2D representation of the world that doesn’t employ some form of distortion because – spoiler alert – the world isn’t flat. It turns out it is mathematically impossible to represent something curved (like the world) on a flat space without distorting some aspect.

So the choice here isn’t between “distortion” and “no distortion” it’s about choosing what kind of distortion you want. The Mercator projection is old, but it’s not “out dated.” Yes, it does distort sizes, but it preserves angles and direction. In general the properties maps preserve or distort are:

* Direction
* Local shapes
* Areas
* Distances
* Shortest routes

Even if distorted, is accurate for the purpose it has. Teaching geography.

And in that note, i’m a bit worried of the lack of interest from young and older people in knowing that topic.