What I Learned in School Today — Maps

When I teach, I think I learn as much from my students as they do from me.

Remember how maps of the Earth looked so distorted when you were in school?  There was just no good way to portray a three-dimensional globe on a two-dimensional sheet of paper.  Not that we haven’t tried.  Wikipedia has an entry entitled “List of Map Projections”; it lists over 50 with a disclaimer that there is no limit (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_map_projections).

Today I learned (from a student, of course) that there’s a way to get an accurate idea of the relative sizes of of countries, or even continents, on the internet.  He found an interactive website that can make the comparisons for you.  At “The True Size Of” (http://thetruesize.com), type in an area (like a country), and a movable outline appears, complete with  area in square kilometers and square miles.   The outline can be moved around for direct comparisons, and accurately changes size when moved north and south.  So how big is Greenland, really?  Call up the outline, then watch  it shrink as you move it toward the equator.

At last, an accurate way to view the world!

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