When you think of the world, the Mercator projection is probably the map that comes to mind.
It's everywhere: atlases, school walls, even Google Maps.
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It's also, very, very wrong, and it's been distorting our view of the world for centuries. It's one of the most common projections used for world maps.
Gerardus Mercator created it in 1569 to help with ship navigation.
The map was revolutionary because it straightened both lines of latitude and longitude, which was great for sailors.
But to make a navigation-friendly map, the projection distorts landmasses the closer they are to the poles, giving us the wrong idea about the relative size of — and maybe even the importance of — some regions.
This creates what some mapmakers call 'the Greenland Problem.'
Greenland on Mercator's map is huge; it's bigger than the entire continent of South America.
The same thing happens with Alaska.
Using Mercator's projection, the state looks bigger than the entire country of Mexico.
The farther land is from the equator on a Mercator map, the more stretched out it is.
Watch the video above to find out more about the inaccuracies of the well-known world map.