The reason why certain countries look bigger or smaller than others is that of something called the Mercator Projection. Putting a 3D planet on a two-dimensional world map was something of a challenge for early cartographers, and so a Flemish geographer and cartographer named Gerardus Mercator came up with a solution for the most accurate world map. In 1569 he designed an atlas 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 bigger than they actually are. Though there are around 40 types of map projections, from conical to polyhedral and retroazimuthal depicting the true size maps, this one is still used the most because of its convenience and simplicity. And none of these projections can be titled 'the real world map,' just because they all depict the same Earth through a different lens.

To show how incorrect our understanding of countries by size is, a website called thetruesize.com lets you move landmasses into different locations. Bored Panda has played a bit on world maps with countries, provided by 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
Community Member
4 years 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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#2

Russia On The Equator Is Not A Giant Bear Anymore

Russia On The Equator Is Not A Giant Bear Anymore

the true size Report

Hans
Community Member
4 years ago

This one looks rather impressive.

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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
Community Member
4 years 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
Community Member
4 years 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
Community Member
4 years 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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#6

Indonesia Would Spread Almost Across The Whole Of Russia

Indonesia Would Spread Almost Across The Whole Of Russia

The True Size Report

Rasa Nekrošienė
Community Member
4 years ago

Wow!

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#7

Greenland Is Not So Big When Compared To USA And Brazil

Greenland Is Not So Big When Compared To USA And Brazil

The True Size Report

Hans
Community Member
4 years ago

This one looks quite surprising!

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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
Community Member
4 years 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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#9

California Moved Onto The UK Shows They're Quite Similar In Size

California Moved Onto The UK Shows They're Quite Similar In Size

The True Size Report

Ray Rosch
Community Member
4 years ago

But California has SUN!

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#10

China Placed On Top Of Russia

China Placed On Top Of Russia

The True Size Report

Timofey Styopin
Community Member
4 years ago

Russia ~17100k sq.km China ~ 9600k sq.km

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#11

Australia Moved Onto North America Becomes REALLY Big

Australia Moved Onto North America Becomes REALLY Big

The True size Report

Péter Lehoczki
Community Member
4 years ago

Now it even contradicts the very first picture...

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#12

Japan Can Stretch Almost Across Canada

Japan Can Stretch Almost Across Canada

The True Size Report

Gordon Weir
Community Member
4 years 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
Community Member
4 years 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
Community Member
4 years ago

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

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#15

Canada Moved Down Onto The US Reveals That Both Countries Are Pretty Much The Same Size

Canada Moved Down Onto The US Reveals That Both Countries Are Pretty Much The Same Size

The True Size Report

Katherine Dagold
Community Member
4 years ago

but 2/3rds of Canada is uninhabitable because it's in the f-ing article circle.

Stephen Esdaile
Community Member
4 years ago

But almost all of the USA is unihabitable because of the f-ing Americans...

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Barry Keleher
Community Member
4 years ago

This one is actually accurate when backed up by figures. Canada being 9,984,670 sq km and the U.S. being 9,826,630 sq km.

Jack Smith
Community Member
4 years ago

Except without Alaska, the contiguous 48 are only 8,080,464 sq km. So Alaska makes up almost 20% of the USA's area

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Tracy Cormier
Community Member
4 years ago

Except Quebec is not covered in ocean and you have the upper half of Canada transposed over Canada.

Mário Silva Tango
Community Member
4 years ago

the true way to compare the size diferences of countries is look them at a globe map. There, in a globe, you don´t have mercator projection.

Martin Errington
Community Member
4 years ago

Funny this should be mentioned; Look at the actual map of the world: https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/search/commonwealth:7h149v85z Look at the size of Australia in comparison to other land masses. Look at where *Antarctica* is because it's not where we are generally told it is. This also happens to be the same map the U.N uses. This is the actual earth map, and surprise surprise, there is no globe. You live on a flat plane. Even the guy who creates the pictures of earth at NASA admits that beautiful ball we see in pictures, is nothing more than a picture https://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/about/people/RSimmon.html His very words on the NASA website: "Then we wrapped the flat map around a ball. My part was integrating the surface, clouds, and oceans to match people’s expectations of how Earth looks from space" There you go folks

Mike Robinson
Community Member
4 years ago

Wow people get so much at arms with each other over a simple debate. If we are all in Soo much disagreement with each other as we are over simple problems like this it's no wonder we aren't solving bigger problems like hunger and war, or world industrial take over. We are doomed at this rate. If we all have such a vague understanding of these things, the questions we should REALLY start asking is what are we letting our governments teach in our schools, and why are we Soo willing to be mislead and I'll- informed Some of this stuff about maps is interesting. I learned about the proportional indifferences of the mapped lands masses only a few years ago and went..." Huh I didn't know that" , then carried on with my day. We as a people need to realize that no matter how impartial one wants to remain, the history books will all ways be written with some bias. We need to beware that with said biases, comes perspective. That perspective is usually from that of the winning side.

Mike Robinson
Community Member
4 years ago

Because of this one sided perspective It would be nearly impossible to write the history books without the facts becoming propagandized and skewed. I have also read that the currently accepted maps we use are also a slight representation of the current geo-political paradigm, giving greater/ lesser importance to countries by misrepresenting land masses. The source I read from noted that the G8 countries were of the greater mis proportion. Of coarse that part could be coincidental. until I hear otherwise I remain open to the truth, even in the event that it contradicts what I thought I once knew. That's means also, being prepared to learn I could be wrong in my beliefs. Be nice to each other guys. And know that if you find out one day you were wrong, be okay with that we are not perfect. Also, if you find out one day your right, go easy on your fellow man, we're not perfect.

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Jamie Laurence
Community Member
4 years ago

Ok, so I no longer trust a single picture in this article after this one. Now Canada is similar to the USA, when the first picture shows the USA being about the same as Australia, and another picture shows Australia as quite a bit smaller than Canada. Calling BS on this whole thing. Too much contradiction.

J S
Community Member
4 years ago

Its because Alaska represents almost 20% of the area of USA but it isn't factored into the visual comparison with Australia.

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Sam Macdonald
Community Member
4 years ago

Man...this is confusing. How does 4400 miles become smaller than 3300 miles? No matter how hard I try... I can't figure out how Canada becomes smaller than the USA.

Trent Nelson
Community Member
4 years ago

Statistics that indicate that China and the USA are bigger than Canada are based on land area excluding the surface area of freshwater lakes. When calculated that way, Canada becomes fourth. When freshwater surface area is included, Canada is second.

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James Kinahan
Community Member
4 years ago

All you have to do is look at the sq km by country...none of this adds up

MJ Derych
Community Member
4 years ago

of course it doesn't - that's the point

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Alex Preston
Community Member
1 year ago

Yeah, except for Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, which on their own are three times the size of Continental Europe.

Brandon Roach
Community Member
1 year ago

Wow!! I didn't know that! It's totally not like Canada and America are completely lined up with each other! Oh gosh oh gish, i didn't know that!!

Noah Nosotti-Dwane
Community Member
3 years ago

Canada is still quite a bit bigger than the USA

Johan Strydom
Community Member
3 years ago

Confusing maps. I want to see all the countries on the same scale.

Amber Burns Johnson
Community Member
3 years ago

Really :.. nothing on African???? You can fit half the world in Africa and you guys covered nothing on Africa. Makes me sick. I was just thinking how racist it is to make Africa so small and now I'm seeing completely missing from your article

Jinhyoung Bahk
Community Member
3 years ago

Not Sea of Japan BUT East Sea or Eastern Sea.

Jim Luzadder
Community Member
3 years ago

Amazing how much perspective can change perceived reality.

Lisa Villareal
Community Member
3 years ago

thank you for sharing. all very informative!

Richard Gehl
Community Member
3 years ago

90% of Canadians live within 100 miles of the U.S. border.

Mark Harrison
Community Member
3 years ago

We are so fucking annoying as a species. We'll argue about anything. I'm bigger! NO! I'm WAAY bigger than you...most of you is uninhabita...shut up you! You're teeny! Blahblahblahfuckingblah Lmao

Marcel Luitze
Community Member
3 years ago

#15 Canada Moved Down Onto The US Reveals That Both Countries Are Pretty Much The Same Size - Yes, but only if you leave Alaska out from the comparison

Dwayne Marlborough
Community Member
4 years ago

Us = Canada = Australia. We get it already!

keith Reed
Community Member
4 years ago

this is a big eye opener, i now know that Russia is not so big as it appears on the map!

J S
Community Member
4 years ago

Chad Boomershine But you don't have to cross a border to get into Nunavut. It's within the contiguous area of Canada. They didn't buy it from another nation. Canada, Australia, China, Brazil and Russia could all decide to form one country. But they'd be a bunch of disjointed pieces of land, like America.

Shubham Vermani
Community Member
4 years ago

wow ... Never knew that ...

Ernest Solomons
Community Member
4 years ago

Why did not compare any African country sizes to the rest of tge world?

Gerrit Tijhof
Community Member
4 years ago

Who cares?

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Debashrita Sarkar
Community Member
4 years ago

Great compilation, Just one question, where did you get this map of India from in #14? I think the political map of India is a bit different in the regions of Kashmir?

Christy Linn
Community Member
4 years ago

How are they pretty much the same size when Quebec and all of Atlantic Canada are in the Ocean and the Territories are overlapping ON, SK, and MB?

Matthew Basala
Community Member
4 years ago

russia is the biggest followed by canada. Then the us is either 3rd or 4thdepending on how you meausre the water in the country with china taking the other. And canada is not largest un ified country. Russia is. You contradict yourself

Dianne McIntyre (Dee)
Community Member
4 years ago

We as Canadians are taught in grade 4 Geography that our country is the second largest in the world. And we are okay with that!

Noma Moore
Community Member
4 years ago

Alaska doesn't count?

J S
Community Member
4 years ago

Alaska isn't a country

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Sable Keech
Community Member
4 years ago

For those of us who prefers globes this is not news

Angela Berthelot
Community Member
4 years ago

Doubt that it is the same size

Hannah Stella Australis
Community Member
4 years ago

Because the map is a projection, the size of a country depends on its location. If you want real proportions you need to look at a sphere. The proportions on a 2d map are only accurate at the equator. There are several different ways of projecting the round earth onto a piece of paper and each looks different. The one you are familiar with is the one that has proven most useful, because places like Antarctica are very distorted but also to a lot of people not very necessary to depict.

Liberty Dankmeme
Community Member
4 years ago

the problem with canada is that it's full of liberals - i can deal with snow - just not stupid liberals who want to import sharia terrorists

Mark Hyde
Community Member
4 years ago

Don't worry about it. If Trump get's in, there'll be nothing left to argue about anyway.

J S
Community Member
4 years ago

On the plus side, plenty of room for all the Americans to move to Canada to escape Trump

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Edz Singson
Community Member
4 years ago

This is shown that our country is differ from others . Philippines <3

J S
Community Member
4 years ago

Yes, as an island nation, you are at risk of land being under sea level due to melting polar ice from global warming. That makes you different from USA or Canada

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Rodel Resolme
Community Member
4 years ago

WI'll someone fix the maps then?

Ben Lunsford
Community Member
4 years ago

Canada, the US, and Australia are all basically the same size. All within a few percent of each other.

J S
Community Member
4 years ago

Canada, USA and China are roughly the same size. Australia is quite a bit smaller, Canada is 2.3 million square kilometers larger than Australia. USA is 2.2 million square kilometers larger than Australia. Australia doesn't make the top 5 for largest countries.

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zarmextin
Community Member
4 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

How stupid are you, really? Areas of a country is constant, it does not change when you move it to other continents. What you are trying to show, I believe, that, google maps show it disproportionately.

Michael Goble
Community Member
4 years ago

Who are you calling stupid? Nothing to do with Google. All paper maps distort country sizes as you move further north or south of the equator. What these images illustrate is that flat maps seriously distort the sizes so, looking at a map, you get entirely the wrong idea about how countries actually compare with others in size. A normal map shows Australia as being smaller than the US. The illustration here shows that in reality they are almost identical in size.

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#16

How This All Works

How This All Works

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Tom Watson
Community Member
4 years ago

You should move this to the top for the dimwits. This is a great series of posts. Thanks for sharing - fun stuff :D

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#17

USA Compared To Europe

USA Compared To Europe

The True Size Report

Septia Yudhi Nugraha
Community Member
4 years ago

Wow.. The state Georgia is on the country Georgia..

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#18

If Poland Was An Island In The Norwegian Sea

If Poland Was An Island In The Norwegian Sea

The True Size Report

Katarzyna Okupnik
Community Member
4 years ago

Jak wyglądałaby Polska, gdyby była wyspą na Morzu Norweskim :)

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#19

The US Could Easily Cover The Whole Of Canada But It Becomes Much Smaller When It's Moved South

The US Could Easily Cover The Whole Of Canada But It Becomes Much Smaller When It's Moved South

The True Size Report

Hans
Community Member
4 years ago

Ask 100 people in a shopping male whether they believe this is the work of rogue regimes...90 will say "yes".

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#20

When You Move Mexico Onto Greenland Its Size Increases Dramatically

When You Move Mexico Onto Greenland Its Size Increases Dramatically

The True Size Report

Dan Chae
Community Member
4 years ago

Donald Trump's gonna need more money for that wall :0

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#21

If Lithuania Was An Island In The Barents Sea And Artic Ocean

If Lithuania Was An Island In The Barents Sea And Artic Ocean

The True Size Report

Bernadeta Švedaitė
Community Member
4 years ago

Awww... my home <3

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#22

Moving UK North And South Reveals How It Actually Compares To Other Countries

Moving UK North And South Reveals How It Actually Compares To Other Countries

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Giang Nguyen
Community Member
4 years ago

Do you mean after Brexit?

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#23

Democratic Republic Of The Congo When You Move It North

Democratic Republic Of The Congo When You Move It North

The True Size Report

ABHIJITH M B
Community Member
9 months ago (edited)

But still the poorest economy in the world ranking

#24

How The Size Of Russia Changes As You Move It South

How The Size Of Russia Changes As You Move It South

The True Size Report

MCCLARIN JORDANN
Community Member
7 months ago

Yeah, but earth is a sphere. And it’s impossible to have a map 100% like this, so it’s pretty much true that Russia is the 3rd largest country.

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#25

#27 Tiny Iceland Compared To New York

#27 Tiny Iceland Compared To New York

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Kamil Mikolajczyk
Community Member
4 years ago

and Iceland has how many inhabitants? 300k?

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#26

Tiny Iceland Compared To Its Giant Neighbor Greenland

Tiny Iceland Compared To Its Giant Neighbor Greenland

The True Size Report

#27

Let Me Just Make This Easy; The Issue Is Peters (accurate) Vs Mercator (inaccurate).

Let Me Just Make This Easy; The Issue Is Peters (accurate) Vs Mercator (inaccurate).

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Thorfinn Tait
Community Member
4 years ago

"Peters" (actually Gall-Peters, as Gall came up with the projection long before) is no truer than Mercator overall. The key phrase here is area: Gall-Peters is designed to preserve relative areas, while Mercator preserves direction and shape. "True representation of land area" and "Incorrect/false representation of land area" are not entirely false statements, but they are too easily read as "Gall-Peters good, Mercator bad!" Which is simply not the case. But despite the famous West Wing scene, in fact there are many better projections than Gall-Peters for showing the whole world — and they have been and continue to be in use in most major publications related to maps and geography for many, many years. There's no single most popular projection, but Mollweide, Winkel Tripel, and perhaps Robinson remain some of the most common. In short: each projection has its own uses, and its own shortcomings. Mercator was never meant to be the only projection ever used.

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#28

Alaska Doesn't Seem So Big When Compared To 48 Contiguous States

Alaska Doesn't Seem So Big When Compared To 48 Contiguous States

The True Size Report

Hans
Community Member
4 years ago

And I told you not to put it into the tumble dryer!

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#29

Texas Moved On Top Of Alaska Shows That They're Almost The Same Size

Texas Moved On Top Of Alaska Shows That They're Almost The Same Size

The True Size Report

jason_th_wilson
Community Member
4 years ago

By almost the same size do you really mean less than half as big as Alaska?

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#30

You Cannot Make Legitimate Size Comparison Unless You Are Doing So On An Equal Area Map

You Cannot Make Legitimate Size Comparison Unless You Are Doing So On An Equal Area Map

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Ryan Cove
Community Member
3 years ago

At least this time, you used the Hobo Dyer Map instead of the atrocious Gall-Peters Map.

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