Saturday, December 11, 2004

If I dug a hole…

A picture of a map

…where would I end up? It’s often said to kids in the UK that if they were to go into their back garden with a spade, an extra lifetime and an absurdly thick asbestos suit, they would end up tunnelling to Australia. In fact, we would end up in the sea southwest of New Zealand and this map shows why.

While we’re on the subject, it’s also a mistake to assume that Greenland is as big as Africa, or that Europe is as big, either. The relative areas of continents are distorted (excellent link) on a variety of earth maps, along with distance, direction, accuracy of outline — and all because it’s impossible to ever accurately map a globe on a flat surface.

Or is it?

Personally, I can’t wait for the day when electronic encyclopedias and atlases offer ultra–ultra–high resolution zoomable globes instead of flat projections. [All this is from MetaFilter, but they left out a map of the ocean floor.]

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