I seem to have an Australian theme running this week.
I came across this graphic a while back, and snagged it to show you. The most common world map, the one we’re most familiar with, is the Mercator Projection map. The map is very bad at showing related sizes of continents–because that was not why it was designed. (It was built for ocean-going navigators).
If you look at the familiar map, Australia looks quite small in comparison to, say, the United States. In actual fact, the continental United States and Australia are almost the same in square miles. (When you add in each country’s territories and etc., then Australia is way bigger–but let’s not argue about size here. 🙂 )
Europeans often have a really hard time visualizing how big Australia really is, which is what makes this image so interesting.
It also works the other way around: When I’m plotting stories set in Europe, I have to remember that driving from one side of a country to another can sometimes be done in a day (and bullet trains make it a cinch).
If you’re sitting in North America and figure you’ve got a good sense of the relative sizes, you might want to look at the state of Maine, which is down on the bottom right of the map, and Ohio, which covers Tasmania.
Food for thought.
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