It’s the end of the world’s map as we know it – and 3D feels fine

13 Aug 2016

The map of the world as you know it is incorrect in 2D. Find out the true size of nations, islands and continents.

We’ve been lied to. The 2D map of the world as we know it is false and makes some countries seem bigger, and others smaller, than they really are, just to neatly adorn walls.

Yes, you’ve heard right, that map of Earth that you all gaze at on walls and on globes is not a real depiction of the size of islands and continents at all.

As a matter of fact, Europe is actually smaller than what is shown on maps and Greenland is not even a third the size of Australia.

Future Human

This is because we are used to a depiction of the world as we know it in 2D through an effect known as the Mercator Projection, which is a cylindrical map projection of the world.

Size matters

To get a more accurate scale of the size of countries in 3D versus the 2D version we've know all our lives to to

To get a more accurate scale of the size of countries in 3D versus the 2D version we’ve known all our lives go to or click on the image

In fact, according to RealLifeLore, the map of the world is a lot stranger than you thought it was.

The map of the world as we know it is actually impossible to depict on a 2D map.

To get a real sense of the size of things, go to

Take the US state of Wyoming, for example, a place with more tumbleweeds than people. For mapping purposes, if you continually stacked the perfectly square shape of Wyoming on top of itself and approached the North Pole on a globe, the state would balloon up to four or five  times its size, but if you push it towards the equator it would squish to a quarter its size on a 2D projection.

The UK might look big on a globe but it is, in fact, smaller than the Philippines, Sumatra, Madagascar and New Zealand.

Australia, as a matter of fact, is much bigger than most people believe it to be and can be actually placed on a map to cover the entire continental United States.

And Brazil happens to be much bigger than depicted on 2D maps, much bigger than Australia, almost bigger than the US and spans almost all of Europe but fits snugly into Africa.

Shocked? Fascinated? Feel that it is the end of the world as we know it? To find out more enjoy this video by RealLifeLore and study the interactive map for yourself at

Globe smashing image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years