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Map Illustrates How Big Africa Really Is
November 13, 2013

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Africa is bigger than many people think, or so the argument goes, and the argument is in the form of a graphic rethink on a website.

The map geographically illustrates the point that Africa the continent, with its dozens of countries, is larger than a combination of more than a dozen other countries.

The list of countries doesn't include the planet's two largest countries by land mass, Russia and Canada, but the list does include several other large-area countries, including China, India, and the U.S. (The other 15 countries are Bangladesh, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.) Many of the 18 countries listed in the table appear on the illustration; some countries on the map don't appear in the table.

The point is that Africa is larger than many people think it is, largely because of the distortions created by the Mercator Projection, which is still a popular way of displaying the continents and countries of the world. In reality, Africa is 14 times the size of Greenland, but that isn't the way things look on the Mercator Projection.

The map is the brainchild of Kai Krause, a graphic designer who is on a self-styled crusade against "inmappancy," the misunderstanding or ignorance of geographical knowledge.

A similar map done up by The Economist shows similar results.

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