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# Great Britain on Maps watch

1. I have been wondering about this for a little while, how come the British Isles are shown much larger than they actually are on maps, well, any map I've seen anyway.

Also, what is the most accurate projection of maps available.

Cheers.
2. Um, your map must be massive!

I hope you mean in proportion to other countries
Which maps are you looking at? Most atlases are pretty much to scale...
But the Earth is curved, you there are different projections. I think most that we user are Mercator http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercator_projection

But there are lots of others available... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categor...ic_projections
Jess
3. Can you give us some examples or links to maps you think disproportionately represent the British Isles.
4. (Original post by QuantumTheory)
Um, your map must be massive!

I hope you mean in proportion to other countries
Which maps are you looking at? Most atlases are pretty much to scale...
But the Earth is curved, you there are different projections. I think most that we user are Mercator http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercator_projection

But there are lots of others available... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categor...ic_projections
Jess
Hah!!
Yeah, sorry about the wording there.
If we look at France next to the UK for example.
Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales)is appox. 80,823 sq mi (209,331 km2) (according to wikipedia), while France is 260,558 sq mi (674,843 km²), almost 3 the area but they appear to be the same size.

(Original post by Student2806)
Can you give us some examples or links to maps you think disproportionately represent the British Isles.
As requested.

5. (Original post by ocelotrevs)
Hah!!
Yeah, sorry about the wording there.
If we look at France next to the UK for example.
Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales)is appox. 80,823 sq mi (209,331 km2) (according to wikipedia), while France is 260,558 sq mi (674,843 km²), almost 3 the area but they appear to be the same size.

Look at the width of France though. When people think about this, they put too much emphasis on the fact that GB is a long country and forget that despite this it's still very skinny.
Even at it's widest point (along the south coast) GB is still 50 miles narrower that France is at it's thinnest point.
Use the ruler tool on Google Earth to measure bits of France and you'll be amazed at how wide it is - it's nearly as wide as we are long.
6. Its so that you can see it more clearly.
7. The mercator projection does not accurately represent the relative size of countries. In particular, it makes areas near the poles look much larger than areas near the equator (the usual example is to compare the apparently similar sizes of Greenland and Africa on a Mercator map, and then consider that Africa is in fact many times larger than Greenland.)

A Peters projection map does show relative size correctly - but has many other problems.
8. (Original post by mja)
The mercator projection does not accurately represent the relative size of countries. In particular, it makes areas near the poles look much larger than areas near the equator (the usual example is to compare the apparently similar sizes of Greenland and Africa on a Mercator map, and then consider that Africa is in fact many times larger than Greenland.)

A Peters projection map does show relative size correctly - but has many other problems.
I was about to say this

i.e. all 2d maps are distorted in some way
9. Ahh okay.
I thought that it was something more sinister.
10. (Original post by ocelotrevs)
Ahh okay.
I thought that it was something more sinister.
arguably it is
the politics of mapping
ask your self why the northern hemisphere is at the top of the map?
After all north does not equate to the top
why is the uk in the centre of the map and not to one side?

maps are not accurate refelctions of what is on the ground

take the os maps of the uk there are hundreds of things left off the map because we are not allowed to know about them
11. (Original post by ali567149)
why is the uk in the centre of the map and not to one side?
Are you saying it would make more sense to put the pacific ocean somewhere in the middle of a 2D map of the world in order to shove the UK off to the side?
It makes a lot of sense to me to have the largest of the oceans 'split into 2' as it appears on a map. And doing this naturally puts UK pretty much in the middle.

However, you're point on the Northern hemisphere being at the top I do understand. Although I doubt it has anything to do with politics, it's interesting that somewhere along the line it became official that the North Pole would appear at the top of a map and the South Pole at the bottom.
12. (Original post by ali567149)
why is the uk in the centre of the map and not to one side?
This is an illogical question. If you put something else in the centre - the USA for example - you'd have to cut land masses up i.e. you'd have China chopped in two and stuck on opposite sides of the map.
With the UK in the middle though, you cut the Pacific Ocean up - a vast, almost empty area of blue.
13. (Original post by Student2806)
This is an illogical question. If you put something else in the centre - the USA for example - you'd have to cut land masses up i.e. you'd have China chopped in two and stuck on opposite sides of the map.
With the UK in the middle though, you cut the Pacific Ocean up - a vast, almost empty area of blue.
Pretty much what I was trying to say in the above post.
14. (Original post by Student2806)
This is an illogical question. If you put something else in the centre - the USA for example - you'd have to cut land masses up i.e. you'd have China chopped in two and stuck on opposite sides of the map.
With the UK in the middle though, you cut the Pacific Ocean up - a vast, almost empty area of blue.
Not really. You can, and do, get maps with the Americas in the middle that are usually seen over there. Even the usual UK-centred map can cut up a land mass, sometimes you can see it where they've chopped up Russia.

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