Africa's true size will blow you away

Illustration for article titled Africa's true size will blow you away

We've seen this comparison made before, albeit never as lucidly as this. Behold: major countries of the world, overlaid atop an outline of the positively giant African continent.


If this is your first time seeing this comparison (click here to see it in hi-res), you might be surprised by Africa's immensity. If that's the case, there's a decent chance you can trace your warped view of geographic scale back to a "compromise projection" – map projections so-named for their tendency to sacrifice things like accurate geographic size and shape in exchange for, say, nice, straight lines (as is the case with the Mercator-projection). As the graphic snarks:

In addition to the well known social issues of illiteracy and innumeracy, there also should be such a concept as "immappacy," meaning insufficient geographical knowledge.

A particularly extreme example is the worldwide misjudgment of the true size of Africa. This single image tries to embody the massive scale, which is larger than the USA, China, India, Japan, and all of Europe... combined!

Even if you have seen this size-comparison made before, you'll appreciate the handy list of countries, presented by total area in square kilometers, that accompanies it.

Notably, Africa is still only the second-largest continent on Earth; Asia outstrips it by about 13.5-million km2.


Via Lee Berger



The Gall-Peters Projection still blows my mind.