Prepare to doubt everything you’ve ever known.
Some countries are significantly larger than they should be thanks to the Mercator projection, while others – anything near the equator – are definitely getting a bum deal. The US falls somewhere in the middle.
On a standard map it’s dwarfed by Canada, but here you can see that moving it to where Canada is located makes it seem even more prominent than it already is.
Note: This post will frequently use the USA as shorthand for the 48 contiguous states. We love Hawaii and Alaska, honest – it’s just easier to fit things in this way. Alaska is HUGE. Or is it…
Yep, it pretty much covers the whole of the continent. Struth!
Sorry, Alaska. You’ve been rumbled.
The Mercator projection really goes to shit when it comes to land masses that cover the poles. It’s usually impossible to tell how big Antarctica really is just from looking at a map, but using this tool we can see it’s roughly the size of western Africa. So now you know.
This map actually shows the exact latitude of the USA, so it really helps you understand the relative positions of cities on opposite sides of the Atlantic.
For instance, Paris actually sits just north of the Canadian border, Chicago is found at nearly the exact same latitude as Istanbul, and Florida extends as far south as southern Egypt!
To the west, the UK shares a latitude with deepest Canada, and on the right you can see that Edinburgh is on a level with Moscow.
If Britain were on the equator it would be absolutely tiny. But at least the weather would be tolerable…
On the equator it would be a similar size to many central African countries, and though it’s still big compared with the US, it’s not quite as terrifying as it once was.
Or, perhaps, how much we (try to) punch above our weight?
How are they the same size?! This is not OK. Hold me…
Once again…fuck you, Greenland!
In case you’re wondering, from largest to smallest they are: 1. Algeria (red), 2. DRC (pink), 3. Sudan (blue), 4. Libya (purple), and 5. Chad (orange).
There are some rankings that say the US is larger than China (thanks to dependencies/water etc.), but either way, you get the point.
Congrats to Algeria for sneaking into the top 10!