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Science Monday, October 11th 2010 at 3:45 pm

The True Size of Africa


Very good, very well-researched illustration by Kai Krause illustrating just how mammoth Africa is. You could fit China, the US, India, Mexico, and Japan in it and still have room for a good chunk of Europe!

Krause:

In addition to the well known social issues of illiteracy and innumeracy, there also should be such a concept as “immappancy”, meaning insufficient geographical knowledge.

A survey with random American schoolkids let them guess the population and land area of their country. Not entirely unexpected, but still rather unsettling, the majority chose “1-2 billion” and “largest in the world”, respectively.

Even with Asian and European college students, geographical estimates were often off by factors of 2-3. This is partly due to the highly distorted nature of the predominantly used mapping projections (such as Mercator).

A particularly extreme example is the worldwide misjudgement [sic] of the true size of Africa. This single image tries to embody the massive scale, which is larger than the USA, China, India, Japan, and all of Europe……. combined!

Click to see full-sized.

(via @stephenfry)

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