The reason why certain countries looks bigger or smaller than others is because of something called the Mercator Projection. Putting a 3D planet on a two-dimensional map was something of a challenge for early cartographers and so a Flemish geographer and cartographer named Gerardus Mercator came up with a solution. In 1569 he designed a map that could be accurately used for navigation purposes, but the downside was that his system distorted the size of objects depending on their position relative to the equator. Because of this, landmasses like Antarctica and Greenland appeared much larger than they actually are.


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To show how incorrect our understanding of country sizes is, a website called thetruesize.com lets you move landmasses into different locations. Bored Panda has played a bit on this site, and this is what we found.

#1 US Moved Down Next To Australia Looks Unbelievably Small

US Moved Down Next To Australia Looks Unbelievably Small

The True Size Report

Yvonne Bernal 12 months ago

Size of contiguous United States Not counting Alaska & Hawaii, the 48 contiguous states occupy a combined area of 3.12 million sq. mi. While Australia is 2.99 million sq miles - I never realized they were so close in size!

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#3 If Romania Was An Island In The Arctic Ocean

If Romania Was An Island In The Arctic Ocean

The True Size Report

Ema Sklepic 12 months ago

I don't get why the map was done so inaccuratelly? can somone explain?

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#4 Australia Is Way Bigger Than You May Think - It Covers Almost The Whole Of Europe

Australia Is Way Bigger Than You May Think - It Covers Almost The Whole Of Europe

The True Size Report

Hans 12 months ago

We do not have kangaroos and koala beers over here, though. :( (And, well, also no giant spiders.)

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#5 If Brazil Was In Asia It Would Be Massive

If Brazil Was In Asia It Would Be Massive

The True Size Report

Brian Hermann 12 months ago

The map of the earth is a 2 d representation of a 3 d object, that's why the size is different, because the map is distorted.

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#8 When You Move Canada To South America

When You Move Canada To South America

The True Size Report

Laura Mackenzie-Callow 12 months ago

Nope. The width of South America at its widest point is 2,705 miles (4,353 km), The width of Canada at its widest point is 5,780 miles (9,306 km).

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#12 Japan Can Stretch Almost Across Canada

Japan Can Stretch Almost Across Canada

The True Size Report

Gordon Weir 12 months ago

It all has to do with putting a round object onto a flat, rectangular presentation. Locations near the poles get stretched and distorted, appearing much larger. The point of the map is that IF Japan was in that particular geographic location (closer to the North Pole), it would look much larger when transcribed onto a flat map.

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#13 Antarctica Is Not So Much Larger Than Brazil

Antarctica Is Not So Much Larger Than Brazil

The True Size Report

Yvonne Bernal 12 months ago

And with global warming, this is rather alarming . . .

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#14 This Is How India Changes As You Move It North

This Is How India Changes As You Move It North

The True Size Report

Yvonne Bernal 12 months ago

Wholly Molley! No wonder I get so many customer service agents in India.... that is one HUGE country.

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