True Size of Africa Not The Distorted Mercator Projection
Africa is 11.68 million square miles or 30.22 million km2 and covers 20.4 percent of the total land area on Earth.
Africa appears small in size on the map, why is that? Mexico, China, Eastern and Western Europe, India, The USA and Japan can all fit into Africa's total land area very comfortably.
How BIG is Africa
However, the accuracy of the Mercator projection is for traveling purposes and not an accurate visual representation of the world.
The east-west and north-south lines are straight lines. Because the world is round, this makes for some not-so-accurate geographical representations.
Antarctica and Greenland, in particular, look far larger on a Mercator projection than they are in real life. Alternative projections use an equal area projection that shows the countries' areas correctly while minimizing shape distortion. Some projections preserve the shapes of countries but misrepresent their areas as does the Mercator projection.
Mapmakers refer to the inability to compare size on a Mercator projection as "the Greenland Problem." Greenland appears to be the same size as Africa, yet Africa's land mass is actually fourteen times larger. Because the Mercator distorts size so much at the poles, it is common to crop Antarctica off the map.
This practice results in the Northern Hemisphere appearing much larger than it actually is, the U.S. looks the same size as Africa but Africa is more than three times the size of the U.S.
Krause was puzzled why the true size of Africa was a worldwide misjudgment. Krause partly blamed it on the distorted nature of mapping estimates using the Mercator projection. Krause point is you should know the map Mercator projection limits your view of what you see and learning geography plays an important role in the evolution of people, ideas and development.
|NASA Earth's Light|
The Mercator projection of 1569 was one of the first navigation maps produced, the Mercator projection is for traveling purposes and not an accurate visual representation of Africa. The Mercator projection was not developed to accurately show the true size of Africa but projection from the Mercator projection are still in use today.