Anonymous asked in Computers & InternetInternetGoogle · 8 years ago

Why are Google Maps proportions SO WRONG?

For example, it makes Greenland look MASSIVE (as big as North America) but really it is only 2.5x the size of texas.

It makes Alaska look like Half the USA, but REALLY it is only about the same size as Greenland.

Alaska and Greenland are the same size, but Greenland looks FIVE TIMES bigger than alaska on the map. If I cut out the google maps then cut out Alaska, it could fit into Greenland FIVE TIMES.


4 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Because you are taking a round thing, opening it up and connecting the missing pieces in a way you shouldn't. Take an orange apart and lay the peel flat, You have gaps at the top. On a map, often mapmakers will fill in those gaps with land or water that's on each side. This distorts the areas at the poles more than areas near the middle equator. Actually, Alaska IS half the size of the US. Look on a globe.

  • munoz
    Lv 4
    4 years ago


  • 8 years ago

    Distortions are a bit hard to explain but the general idea is that the world is like an orange skin - if you peel off the skin and spread it out (in one piece), then you have the world and the distortions of maps laid out in front of you. We live on a big ball. Forcing the ball's image onto a 2-dimensional surface is the inevitable problem. Globes are the 'maps' that have the least over-all distortion, but in many ways they have far less detail and practical usefulness than well made 2-dimensional maps.

    Distortions are also known as projections. Over the years there have been arguments over which projection best explains and depicts the world and in the end, it resulted in the following different projections:

    Wagner VII Projection/Pseudo azimuthal projection

    Conic Projection

    Mercator Map

    And many more....

    The importance of distortions very much depends on how a map will be used. If you are planning a country's defense systems and strategies, then you want to eliminate or be able to account for global distortions to the highest degree of accuracy. If you want a good road map that will get you to a destination a thousand miles away, global distortions will mean absolutely nothing to you. Political maps may or may not be improved by paying attention to distortions; sometimes relative areas of adjoining areas will be critical and sometimes not. There aren't going to be many border disputes among the states of the US; it might be different in other parts of the world.



    I forgot to mention one thing. If you go on google maps and scroll around [Not zooming in or out] But moving north and south. Look at the bottom left at the scale. you will know the scale actually varies in size. Increase in the norther and southern hemispheres and decreasing when you get near the center.

    So technically its accurate if you follow the scale. If you paid attention to those details.

  • 4 years ago

    that is not totally true

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