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. 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. Still, 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
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

#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
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

#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
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

#10

China Placed On Top Of Russia

China Placed On Top Of Russia

The True Size Report

#11

Australia Moved Onto North America Becomes REALLY Big

Australia Moved Onto North America Becomes REALLY Big

The True size Report

#12

Japan Can Stretch Almost Across Canada

Japan Can Stretch Almost Across Canada

The True Size Report

Gordon Weir
Community Member
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

#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
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

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#16

How This All Works

How This All Works

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Tom Watson
Community Member
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

#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
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

#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

Report

#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
2 years ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

But still the poorest economy in the world ranking

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#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
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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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#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
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"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
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

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