How big are Earth’s countries, really?

If you want to know the true size of the world, don’t look at an atlas.

This may sound like a conspiracy theory but our current world map is wrong. The size and shape of countries and continents are either much bigger or much smaller than you think.

Why is this? It all comes down to maths.

The Earth is a sphere, a 3D shape. Maps are flat and 2D. If you try and translate one to the other you will always create alterations trying to make it fit.

It helps to think of the Earth as an orange. If you were to draw the continents on the skin, peel it and lay it flat you will notice that however many ways you try, some part of the map will always become distorted. It is this problem that effects almost every world map that we see, meaning few of us have a realistic idea about the size of our countries.

Africa for example, is a lot bigger than we think. The Mercator Projection map suggests that the USA is half the size of Africa, when it’s less than one-third. Germany and Tanzania appear the same size, but Tanzania is in fact over 200,000 square miles bigger. Unless two countries are parallel to one another, one will always be bigger or smaller than we think.

If this is boggling your mind, there is an alternative. The Flat Earth Society hold the belief that we are in fact living on a floating disc – certainly one way to address the world map problem! For those however with a more scientific head, our new infographic will dispel any myths and reveal the true size of our world by overlaying the Galls-Peters Projection of countries on top of one another.


Embed this true size of countries infographic on your site:

  1. Encyclopedia Britannica. Mercator projection.
  2. Google Compass. Google Maps Projection.
  3. Delaney, I. (2015). The problem with projections.
  4. World by Map. (2016). Land Area.
  5. Rosenberg, M. (2016). Ranking of Continents by Area and Size.
  6. TimeTemperature. (2016). Russia Time Zones.
  7. Convention on Biological Diversity. Colombia – Overview.
  8. Infoplease. Large Islands of the World.
  9. Discovering Antarctica. What, where, why?
  10. World Wildlife. Madagascar Overview.
  11. The Flat Earth Society. 2016. The Flat Earth Society :: Home.
  12. G.D. 2010. Cartography: The true true size of Africa

Next post Time Travel Tourism Posters

Previous post 17 Canadian Cities to Visit in 2017

Expedia Canada

About the Author Expedia Canada

There are some who wonder and some who wander, and both are welcome here at Expedia Canada. Our travel blogs cover a range of locales, from salty nightclubs in Mexico, to sweet vegan chocolate shops in Belgium, to funky flavours in Thailand. Jump in. And find your next adventure within our pages.

Related Posts