Area accurate Peters Projection Map overlaid with common Mercator Projection Map [1609x1024]
I always get fascinated by these. If this is true, why not just make more accurate maps?
Neither of these are “accurate”. Both of these maps compensate for the fact that unless you’re looking at a globe, it’s impossible to show the world accurately in 2D. The Mercator map stretches the longitudinal parabola more as you progress further from the equator, leaving latitudes alone, however it retains land’s relationship and orientation. In this, the Peterson Projection, formerly termed the Gall’s orthographic, there is a cylindrical approach. It attempts to compensate for the fact that the latitudes are derived from a degree from the center on flat paper approach, and due to the curvature of the earth, that “head on” distance is not the same as played out when actually travelling the curvature. It seems, looking at a Mercator Projection, that longitudes are equally spaced, however, they’re not. The Gall/Peterson Projection is one take on correcting that. See how the Kamchatka Penninsula is all jacked out of relation? When you use this projection system, the only places where north-south is accurate is the prime meridian, and the only place east-west is accurate is the equator. This compensates for the area occupied, yet sacrifices orientation, and is inaccurately skewed. A globe remains the only way to accurately view the earth. Even on the computer, you still need 3D rendering, because what you lose in longitude to longitude, you gain from the crust curvature. We have an inherent need to perceive the world in a spread-out flat page way, however that’s not how it is. There’s actually a significant impact on political relationships when choosing the proper map projection system. The awesome thing is that computers are easily programmed to calculate based on real world shape. Too bad we’re not!