A world map is the visual presentation of the world consisting of different countries, continents, and oceans. It essentially shows us the location, shape, and size of countries and continents, and the distance between different places. But, did you know the world map we studied in geography wasn’t an accurate, true-size map? Those classroom maps were based on the famous Mercator projection, a 16th-century map projection that distorted the size of certain countries and continents depending on their distance from the equator. Fortunately, today, accurate, true-size maps are available, such as world maps, state maps, and more.

Sizes Of Countries

To generate an accurate, true-size map, we must know the actual sizes of all the countries around the world. However, the image of countries is mainly based on the Mercator projection, which isn’t accurate.

For example, many people believe that Norway and Chile are of the same size because the map they are familiar with shows this. In reality, Chile is about two times larger than Norway. Similarly, it’s a common perception that Sweden is larger than Spain, when actually Spain is larger.

Dimensions Of The Map

The world map (based on the Mercator projection) that most of us are familiar with is a 2D (two-dimensional) representation of the globe. But we all know the earth is 3D and isn’t flat. When we represent a 3D world on a two-dimensional map, there will be some inherent issues, such as the incorrect size of countries and continents, and distortion of angles of longitude and latitude lines.

Mercator Projection

Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator developed the Mercator map or projection in 1569. It was designed to help with accurate navigation, and it rightly served its purpose. However, the downside of the Mercator map was that it significantly distorted the size of certain countries and continents depending on their distance from the equator. The further a place was from the equator, the bigger it appeared on the Mercator map.

For example, in a Mercator projection map, Africa and Greenland have the same size. In reality, Africa is about 14 times bigger than Greenland. Similarly, Canada, Russia, and North America appear larger than they actually are. Hence, the Mercator projection map wasn’t an accurate true size map.

Most online mapping apps use Mercator projection. That’s why many people don’t know the true size of countries and relative areas of oceans and continents.

Authagraph Projection – Accurate True Size Map

Over time, people realized and started questioning the inaccuracy of the Mercator projection. This led to the invention of a new map projection called Authagraph projection. Japanese architect Hajime Narukawa created the Authagraph projection in 1999, and also won the Good Design Award in 2016 for this innovation.

This map represents the relative size of countries and land area much more accurately than Mercator maps. It also reduces shape distortion and avoids dead ends. This allows us to visualize the world by expanding the map in any direction. As a result, you can center the map on any area of the world, depending on what you want to learn. For example, you can center the map on the Pacific Ocean, Europe, or any other continent.

While the Authagraph isn’t a 100% accurate true size map, it’s still one of the best ways to represent the world in a 2D flat map. Unfortunately, the Authagraph map is currently a proprietary model, so we don’t have its equations. As a result, it’s pretty difficult to reproduce it and use it for different purposes.

Map Projection – Key Points

  • If we use a tool for a long period of time without questioning its accuracy and efficiency, it becomes the standard tool. For example, the Mercator projection has become the standard for creating most world maps.
  • Using a tool to navigate without knowing its flaws can heavily cost us.
  • We should constantly assess and improve our tools to make them as accurate as possible for the purpose we’re using them for.

How To Sketch And Code An Accurate True Size Map?

creating an accurate true size map

You might need to create a JavaScript world map, states map, or countries map, to represent or analyze location-specific data. However, creating an accurate true size map requires thorough planning and numerous sketches. The best tools for sketching are vibrant pens and bright paper.

When sketching the map, it’s best to use a tool like ‘The True Size of’ to accurately compare the real size of countries relative to each other. This tool allows you to add a country’s outline to the map, which then resizes automatically to make up for the Mercator projection.

Once you are satisfied with the sketch, open your code editor and create a JavaScript map.

What Is The Best Tool For Creating JavaScript Maps?

FusionCharts for creating maps

The best way to generate a beautiful JavaScript map is to use FusionCharts. FusionCharts comes with a JavaScript API for creating interactive charts and maps on a dashboard. FusionCharts charting library is a powerful data visualization tool that comes with over 100 different charts, such as bar, pie, area, line, donut charts, and heat maps. It also offers more than 2000 map templates covering continents, countries, cities, and regions.

You can use FusionChart’s maps to plot critical geographical data, such as population by state, revenue by regions, survey and election results. FusionCharts also allows you to add markers on the map to pinpoint important places like flight routes and office locations. It supports React, jQuery, and many other major frameworks.

Some key maps of FusionCharts include:

World And Continents

  • World
  • World with countries
  • World with Antarctica
  • World 8 regions
  • North America
  • Central America
  • Europe
  • And more!

USA Regions

  • USA – All regions
    • Central region
    • Northeast region
    • Northwest region
  • USA – States
  • And many more!

Final Thoughts

Most world maps are based on Mercator projection, which was designed for navigation. While a Mercator map is great for navigation, when the projection was used to create a map that included the whole world, it didn’t show the true size of countries accurately. For instance, on a Mercator map, Europe appears much larger than it actually is when compared to South America. A more accurate map projection is Authagraph projection, but it’s still a proprietary model.

Ready to create beautiful JavaScript charts and maps? Sign up for FusionCharts and try its exciting features today!

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