Maps Distort How We See the World
Maps twist our perception of the world.
Countries closer to the equator — which happen to be poorer— seem smaller than they are.
This is because the world is a 3D sphere, but maps are 2D projections on a plane. That means distortion!
Here is a static version showing the equator, to compare more easily and see how much the projection differs from reality as you move away from it:
We should be wary of flattening balls!
So we develop a poor intuition for comparative region sizes.
The biggest loser is Africa, which is humongous:
Here’s another take on it, to drive the point home.
If you compare the most affected regions, you realize that Africa is about as wide as Russia!
Somalia, Japan, and New Zealand are all approximately the same size as the US East Coast.
Brazil is the most short-changed country, as it’s right on the equator and huge. Here it is compared to Europe.