You’ve Been Fooled by Your Country’s Size Your Entire Life

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During your whole life, you’ve probably thought that world maps accurately portrayed every country’s size, but that’s really not the case. Prepare to be quite shocked.

Personally, I love maps, geography and everything related to them. One of the reasons I love finding great flight deals is to be able to fill in my personal maps of places to visit. And when I learned about the fact that maps were representing country sizes quite inaccurately a few years back, even I found that fascinating.

The thing is, obviously Earth isn’t flat. So by picturing all the different countries on a two-dimension flat map, the size of every country is disproportionately portrayed.

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So yes, Canada is pretty big, but in reality it’s not as big as it seems. The further a country is from the Equator, the more world maps distort their “true” size. l

See how Canada seems big:


And then check out its true size, when compared to the correct scale at the level of the Equator:


Quite the difference, eh? That’s Canada’s true size.

If you want to play around with it a bit and see the true size of every country (like I said, the further away from the center of our planet, the more it seems bigger than it is), you can use the interactive map on the website The True Size, which was created to educate people on this cartography quirk.

Type in the name of any country and then move it around to see its true size relative to the Equator. It’s pretty interesting!

It really makes you realize how much bigger the countries near the Equator are, especially the African continent. It’s fascinating to see how many amazing different places in that landmass there must be, with its 55 different countries. I was actually at a travel hacking conference this past weekend in Chicago, and I met an incredible American who has used miles and points to visit a whopping 189 out of the 193 countries in the world, including every single African country.

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Anyways, all this to say that our world is huge, but some countries aren’t as huge as you have been fooled into thinking.

Bottom Line

Many countries far away from the center of our planet aren’t as big as our two-dimensional maps have led you to believe, which is quite fascinating.

What do you think about this?

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