Maps That Show Us A New Perspective

Like a side-view mirror, sometimes on maps, things look bigger to us than they actually appear. Think about it; a world map shows Greenland as this giant landmass the size of South America when really it’s quite tiny, comparatively speaking.

Then there is the Mongolian Empire, a massive region conquering of over nine million square miles. But what does that area look like on a map when compared to the rest of the world? Don’t worry; these maps will shed light on the true scope of things and may even help you obtain a more worldly perspective.

Greenland Looks Tiny Next To South America

Greenland Looks Tiny Next To South America
Reddit
Reddit

If you’re like us, then when you look at a world map, the country of Greenland looks like it would overtake South America in terms of surface area. Well, we’re here to tell you that is not the case, and this map should put their respective sizes into perspective.

Let’s start with Greenland. The country has an area of 2,166,086 sq km, while the continent of South America comes in at a whopping 17,840,000 sq km. That, folks, tells us that South America is a solid 8.2 times larger than the northern country.

Red Features A Total Population Greater Than The Gray

Red Features A Total Population Greater Than The Grey
lex52485/Reddit
lex52485/Reddit

As you can clearly see by this map, Americans tend to favor the coastal states, considering the red areas represent a greater population than that of the gray area. With a vast majority of “red” being in southern California, it seems as though people flock to the west coast for the lifestyle: the promise of year-round summer.

Then, some favor the eastern seaboard, enjoying the lifestyles of New Englanders and the tri-state area. What we can conclude from the map is that the colder and more rural states aren’t on the “move-to” list for many of the 328.2 million Americans.

Texas Doesn’t Look All That Big Next Compared To Africa

Texas Doesn't Look All That Big Next To Africa
Reddit
Reddit

While Texas is the second-largest state in the United States by area, right behind Alaska, it is nothing in comparison to the world’s second-largest continent, Africa. Everything might be bigger in Texas, but when the state is dropped down on top of Africa, it looks about as big as one of the countries– which is still impressive!

To put it in a bit of perspective for those who enjoy numbers, Africa has an area of 30,370,000 sq km, while Texas doesn’t even break one million sq km, coming in at 676,587 sq km. This means Africa is 45 times larger than the state!

Light Pollution Throughout The Continental United States

Light Pollution Throughout The Continental United States
there_is_no_try/Reddit
there_is_no_try/Reddit

If you’re an outdoor lover who enjoys star gazing at night, we recommend venturing to middle and northwest America, where the light pollution is substantially less than the coastal states east of the Mississippi River. Sadly, according to a 2016 study, scientists estimate that around 80 percent of North Americans can’t see the Milky Way.

But, as geographer Tim Wallace has mentioned, a majority of the states with random light output, such as North Dakota, are due to shale oil extractions and huge commercial buildings, such as airports and power stations.

Land Use Throughout The United States

Land Use Throughout The United States
Al-Andalusia/Reddit
Al-Andalusia/Reddit

The United States has one of the largest landmasses at its disposal and a very diverse one at that. With 3.8 million square miles to work with, it’s only natural that the land making up the United States has various uses, depending on where it’s located.

While much of the western states use their land for forests and timber, middle America has great pastures for farm animals, such as cows, sheep, and horses. But even tiny spaces go a long way, like the national parks and the tiny northern splotch of land that produces maple syrup!

The Reach Of The Mongolian Empire In 1279

The Reach Of The Mongolian Empire In 1279
CountZapolai/Reddit
CountZapolai/Reddit

The Mongolian Empire was the largest bordering land empire in the history of the world. Through the 13th and 14th centuries, the Empire stretched from Central and Eastern Europe, down to the Sea of Japan, northward into part of the Arctic, westward towards the Carpathian and Levant Mountains, into the mainland of Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and the Iranian Plateau.

Emerging from the alliance between several nomadic tribes, Genghis Khan took leadership and ruthlessly took over a solid part of the world. Thankfully, after years of the Empire, a war over succession eventually led to its downfall. But before that, the Empire was an astounding nine million square miles.

New Zealand Is Very Small Compared To The United States

New Zealand Is Very Small Compared To The United States
Reddit
Reddit

Since the United States is the fourth-largest country in the entire world, it’s no surprise that when New Zealand is put on top of it, the island looks like a tiny blip in comparison. To put it in mathematical language, the US is estimated to be around 9,833,517 sq km, while New Zealand is about 268,838 sq km.

This makes the United States around 3,558 percent larger than the southwestern Pacific country of New Zealand! Thankfully, New Zealand isn’t alone in its small area, being similar in size to the United Kingdom.

Metric System Vs. Imperial System

Metric System Vs. Imperial System
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

One of the age-old arguments a majority of the world has with the United States is why the country insists on staying with the imperial system of measurement. Aside from Liberia and Myanmar, the rest of the world, as you can see by the gray masses, use the metric system.

In America’s defense, they can actually blame the British on the unit of measurement. Hundreds of years ago, when the British colonized America, they brought with them the imperial system. Ever since, Americans have used that system, deciding not to jump on the metric system-train, so to speak.

Middle America Has More Farmland Than Trees

Middle America Has More Farmland Than Trees
DrWendigo/Reddit
DrWendigo/Reddit

America is home to eight percent of the world’s forests, having around 228 billion trees in the country. And, as the map clearly illustrates, those forests are more densely populated in the northwest as well as east of the Mississippi River.

Contrary to popular belief, the wood-per-acre average has significantly grown since the 1950s, which is amazing since the European settlers uprooted a lot of growth when they first arrived in America. Now more than ever, people realize the importance of nature. In 2007, the then-mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, made plans to plant one million trees In New York by 2017 — the goal was met!

Abandoned Railroads Throughout The United States

Abandoned Railroads No Longer In Use
Suzy Sholar/Pinterest
Suzy Sholar/Pinterest

Railways played a huge role in the construction of America, from the settlements in the west to the Industrial Revolution in the east. It was 1827 when the first railroad was constructed. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was the vision of John Stevens and catered to both freight and passenger transport.

As the map shows, a majority of the abandoned railways are located in the east, slowly expanding out west. This pattern makes sense with the early settlements, slow construction, the 1893 economic panic that halted many projects, and the eventual invention of the automobile and the airplane that would become the more popular modes of transportation.

Where Flamingos Flock In The Wild

Where Flamingos Flock In The Wild
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

While a majority of people will only ever see flamingos in zoos, there are some places around the world where they live freely in the wild. As illustrated by the above map, these wading birds tend to favor Africa, Europe, tiny parts of Asia, the Caribbean, and the southern tip of America.

Fun fact about flamingos: these birds tend to stand on one leg, but no one really knows why. It’s thought that they stand in such a way to retain body heat, as their long, skinny legs spend most of the day wading around in cold water.

Further Proof That California Is Its Own Country

Further Proof That California Is Its Own Country
Reddit
Reddit

While Italy technically has a larger population than California, having a population of 60.3 million compared to the state’s 39.5 million, the latter is obviously bigger in terms of area. As you can see from the map, California easily fits over the entirety of Italy, even crossing over a few borders into Swiss territory.

To give a bit of perspective on the size of the country versus the area of the state, let’s look at some numbers: Italy is 301,340 sq km, while California’s is a solid 403,882 sq km, making the country 74.61 percent the size of the state.

The Population Of Middle America = Both Coasts

The Population Of Middle America = Both Coasts
Cogo5646/Reddit
Cogo5646/Reddit

It’s no secret that a majority of people flock away from middle America in favor of living on either the eastern and western seaboard to live. But it might come to a surprise to see the population of both coasts in comparison to a vast majority of the country’s middle states.

To break it down, the orange represents a population equivalent to that of the red portion in the middle of the map. Pretty much, if you’re not a people person, we recommend living somewhere in the red section of the map.

Eight Million Miles Of Highway In The United States

Eight Million Miles Of Highway In The United States
SkyHawk2112/Reddit
SkyHawk2112/Reddit

Formed back on November 11, 1926, the United States Federal Highways has an expanded reach of 157,724 miles throughout the country. Each highway has a designated number, something that is coordinated among each of the 50 states.

And while the roadways stretch throughout the continental U.S., their maintenance is in the responsibility of state and local governments. If you’ve ever been on a New Jersey highway, then you know tax money is going to something other than fixing all of the highway potholes!

Australia Vs. The United States

Australia Vs. The United States
Reddit
Reddit

When looking at a world map, it’s hard to determine which country is larger, Australia or the United States. So, we’ve layered them in order to gain a better perspective.

The United States is around 9,833,517 sq km, while the land down under is 7,741,220 sq km. In mathematical terms, America is about 1.3 times larger than Australia, or 27 percent. Considering the United States has a population of 328.2 million, it’s a good thing there is so much space!

Majority Of The US Has A Smaller Population Than LA County

Majority Of The US Has A Smaller Population Than LA County
SwiftOryx/Reddit
SwiftOryx/Reddit

If there is one thing to say Los Angeles County in southern California, it is packed tighter than a tin of sardines. With a population of 10 million, according to the 2019 census, the single county of LA out-populates a vast majority of the United States, as shown above.

Granted, North Carolina and Georgia should join Ohio, Illinois, New York, Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania on this map. As of 2019, North Carolina just makes it past LA County’s population with 10.49 million people, while Georgia’s population comes in at 10.62 million.

Cuba Fits In The Hudson Bay

Cuba Fits Snuggly In The Hudson Bay
Reddit
Reddit

It’s amazing to see an entire country fit snugly inside a body of water, considering how bays tend to look fairly small on the world map. Thankfully, we have this “perspective map” to give us an idea of just how large the Hudson Bay is compared to the island country of Cuba.

Let’s start by saying, the bay is huge, comparatively speaking. The Hudson Bay’s surface area is 1,230,000 sq km, while Cuba has an area of 110,860 sq km. With that size difference, no wonder Cuba looks like nothing more than a sandbar on this map.

The US If States Were Sized By Population Density

The US If States Were Sized By Population Density
StarboardCapsized/Reddit
StarboardCapsized/Reddit

Wouldn’t it be interesting to open a textbook and see a map of the United States looking all split-up like this? While normal images of the US have all of the borders connected, this interesting take is based on what the map would look like, if it were designed based on the population density per state.

As you can see, it doesn’t look like the states of California or Florida changed much, if at all, while Alaska, the biggest state in the country, is shrunk down to almost nothing! And can we talk about how big New Jersey is compared to its usual small self?

China Vs. The United States

China Vs. The United States
Reddit
Reddit

It’s no secret that China is the world’s most populated country, being the home to over one billion people. But when it comes to the surface area, it is almost beaten out by the United States.

To put it in perspective, by using a bit of imagination, you can see that if you reconfigure the shape of China, it is almost the same size as the US. But, at the end of the day, China is a bit bigger, at 9,596,960 sq km, while the United States just falls behind at 9,147,593 sq km.

Popular Coffee Chains Across The United States

Popular Coffee Chains Across The United States
dannywat3rm3lon/Reddit
dannywat3rm3lon/Reddit

If there is one thing most people around the world can agree on, it’s to never get in the way of them and their coffee fix. In the United States, that coffee fix comes in the form of three popular chains, well more like two, considering Caribou is only preferred in Minnesota.

As Dunkin’ Donuts stores are few and far between once you cross over the Mississippi River, it comes as little surprise that Starbucks is the preferred choice of a majority of states, excluding a few southern states, the north, and randomly, Illinois.

Parts Of The World Covered By Google Street View

Parts Of The World Covered By Google Street View
RuteNL/Reddit
RuteNL/Reddit

Google street view was launched in several cities across the United States back in 2007. Since then, the technology has expanded to places around the world, including both rural areas as well as cities. The interesting thing about Google street view is that the cameras are attached to various modes of transportation.

Most of the photography is done by a Google car. But depending on the landscape, some of the employees opt to use a snowmobile, tricycle, or even photograph on foot. There are even boats hooked up with the technology! Still, places like Russia, China, and most of Africa do not have Google Street View.

United States Vs. India

United States Vs. India
Reddit
Reddit

While India is the second most populated country in the world, housing over one billion people, it is only the seventh-largest by surface area. As the map illustrates, while the United States doesn’t look overly larger than South Asian country, it is — almost three times larger, if we’re going to be specific.

India’s surface area is around 3,287,263 sq km compared to the United States 9,147,593 sq km. So, if you look at a word map sometime soon, don’t make the mistake we did and think India would be able to fit inside America’s borders. The country, although smaller, is larger than it appears on a world map!

The Only Countries With A Population Under 100 Million

The Only Countries With A Population Under 100 Million
Jellybeans0128/Reddit
Jellybeans0128/Reddit

Considering the world has a population of 7.594 billion as of 2018, it’s incredible to think some countries don’t have a population of over one million people. Looking at this map, it’s understandable why places such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South America, Africa, Asia, and even parts of Europe have lower populations.

Let’s start with the obvious: parts of Australia and New Zealand are uninhabitable, with way too much dangerous wildlife for anyone’s well-being. Then various countries throughout Africa and Asia are very rural, whereas people tend to flock towards cities. Then there is the freezing and horrible weather throughout locations in Europe and Canada…enough said.

China Vs. Russia

China Vs. Russia
Reddit
Reddit

When looking at a world map, it is clear Russia is substantially larger than China. But, hopefully, this illustration puts it into perspective just how much bigger. While the world map makes China look like a speck of dust in comparison to the northern country, it overlaps fairly well.

While Russia is still clearly bigger, with a surface area of 17,098,242 sq km, China isn’t the tiny country a world map would have us believe. China is 44 percent smaller than Russia, with a surface area of 9,596,960 sq km. Okay, yea, it’s still small, comparatively.

Antarctica Takes Over The United States And Parts Of Canada

Antarctica Takes Over The United States And Parts Of Canada
Reddit
Reddit

Amazingly, Antarctica almost takes over the 24,490,000 sq km surface area that makes up the North American continent. Alas, it doesn’t quite make it, which is strange, considering how large the frozen tundra looks lying on the bottom of a world map. Well, at least this puts its size in perspective.

Antarctica, population 4,490, has a large surface area of 14,000,000 sq km. The size of the landmass is 75 percent larger than that of the United States 9,147,593 sq km and 40 percent larger than Canada’s surface area of 9,984,670 sq km.

The Loud And Quiet Parts Of The United States

The Loud And Quite Parts Of The United States
The National Park Service
The National Park Service

Aside from being a beautiful representation of noise pollution in various parts of the United States, it also shows where a majority of people flock to. If you’re familiar with the states, then you’ll notice that a majority of noise spikes, the yellow color, occur near large cities, such as Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Dallas.

Then we have the dark blue, which shows the quieter regions of the country. Here we see a majority of the pacific northwest as well as Maine. These towns are more rural, and wouldn’t have as many people as, say, Manhattan, New York.

Population Spikes Don’t Really Happen Near The Canadian Border

Population Spikes Don't Really Happen Near The Canadian Border
AJgloe/Rdddit
AJgloe/Rdddit

As of 2019, the United States has a total population of 328.2 million people. Of those hundreds of millions of people, 39,747,267 live in California, 29,087,07 in Texas, 19,491,339 in New York, and 21,646,155 in Florida. Now, those numbers are just to put this population spike map in a bit of perspective.

As you can see, the spikes skyrocket in those specific states where the population is already one of the highest in the nation, where there is little to no spike near the border of Canada.

Montana Fits Perfectly Inside Mongolia

Montana Fits Perfectly Inside Mongolia
Reddit
Reddit

Montana is a western state in the United States that is known for its wide-open lands, beautiful mountains, and for being very peaceful. So, when it comes to how large it is, people often think it’s bigger than it actually is. But when looking on a world map, it is but a tiny dot amid a huge continent.

Then there is Mongolia, a country that looks way bigger on a map than it actually is. We mean, just look at this illustration for some perspective! While Mongolia is obviously bigger than Montana, with a surface area 1,564,116 sq km, it’s only 4.1 times larger than Montana’s 376,962 sq km.

The Best Route To Hit All Of The Springfield Towns In The US

The Best Route To Hit All Of The Springfield Towns In The US
GreenMobius/Reddit
GreenMobius/Reddit

If you’ve traveled through the United States, then you know there are some towns in various locations that have the same name. Springfield is one of those names. According to a geological survey, in the continental United States, there are 33 populated towns with the names throughout 25 different states, with five in Wisconsin alone. And that’s not including the townships.

If we’re taking into consideration the townships, then there are 36 throughout the country, 11 located in Ohio. If you’re planning a road trip anytime soon and want to visit the Springfield of America, the above map is the best route to travel.

You Can Fit Poland Inside Of Texas

Poland Inside Of Texas
Vivid Maps
Vivid Maps

If you were to take Poland and set the country inside of Texas, you’d still have plenty of room to drive around the state without ever needing to enter Poland. They say everything is better in Texas, and they can add bigger than Poland to that list.

The sheer size of the United States is impressive, especially when you consider that one state is bigger than so many countries around the world.

A Lot Of Countries Can Fit Inside The United States, All At Once

Countries fitting inside the United States
dannywat3rm3lon1 / Reddit
dannywat3rm3lon1 / Reddit

While the United States may not be the largest country by landmass, there are still a very large number of countries around the world that could all fit inside the United States at the same time.

A Reddit user posted this map that does a great job of utilizing almost all of the landmass in the United States with very little room to spare. Even with all its land, much of the United States is left unpopulated.

Here’s Canada, The US, And Mexico At Scale

Canada and US and Mexico at Scale
Visual Capitalist
Visual Capitalist

Anyone who has studied geography can tell you that many maps are not drawn to scale. Look at a globe and the United States appears to be a massive behemoth towering over its neighbors. In reality, the United States is not as huge as we’ve been taught.

In reality, Canada is the second-largest country in the world with a landmass that triumphs over its neighbor to the south. Canada has a landmass of approximately 9,984,670 sq km, while the United States is approximately 9,833,517 sq km. Mexico is also much larger than our current maps give it credit for.

Air Traffic Control Zones Look Nothing Like The Country

Air Traffic Control Zones Look Nothing Like The Country
lucyeeliza/Reddit
lucyeeliza/Reddit

Interestingly, the air traffic control in the United States isn’t broken up by state, but rather by zones and sectors. Throughout the continental US, there are 21 zones, as illustrated on the above map. Each of these zones is centralized around a major city, such as Houston, New York, and Washington D.C.

But that’s not where air control ends. Within these 21 zones, there are sectors and 50 miles in diameter of airspace. Within each given portion of airspace is where all of the country’s airports are located, each with its own five-mile radius.

Every City In The World With A Population Of 100,000+

City Population Over 100000
Fingolas / Imgur
Fingolas / Imgur

If you plot out all of the cities around the world with more than 100,000 people it’s shocking to realize how few cities have actually reached that threshold. This map, not surprisingly, shows a lot of coverage for that city size in places like Asia, where populations have exploded in recent years.

Of course, this doesn’t include many suburban areas where cities seem to pop up every few miles, many of which feature fewer than 100,000 people within their city limits but more than a million people living without close proximity to each other.

This Circle Represents A Majority Of The World’s Population

Most of the worlds population in one circle
valeriepieris / Reddit
valeriepieris / Reddit

It’s amazing to think that with more than 7 billion people on our planet, more than 50 percent of them live within this highlighted area on the world map. It’s a fairly large area but a lot of the population lives within major cityscapes that have sprung up incredibly quickly in recent years.

The United States in comparison, with a relatively large mass area, features only around 5% of the world’s population.

One Sport To Nearly Rule Them All. We’re Not Surprised

One Sport To Rule Them All
Imgur
Imgur

It’s not really a surprise that soccer (futbol) is the number one sport in many parts of the world. Cricket may surprise many Americans but it’s an international sport filled with well-known athletes who are celebrated by hundreds of millions of fans.

In the United States, there is a decently diverse choice in chosen sports with football the top choice in many states, although baseball and wrestling also take a fair share of the interest.

A NASA Snapshot Of Fires Around The World

Active Fires Around the World in July 2020
NASA Earth Observations
NASA Earth Observations

In July 2020, NASA’s Earth Observatory Team captured a satellite shot of all the active fires happening around the world at the time. Scientists have warned that active fires will continue to grow if climate change is not reversed.

As we can expect, areas with higher temperatures and dry conditions are more likely to be highlighted by NASA’s satellites. NASA captures this data every month and posts the results for historical analysis purposes.

Left-Side Versus Right-Side Driving

Left Side and Right Side Driving
chartsbin.com / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 / creativecommons.org
chartsbin.com / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 / creativecommons.org

Why does it seem like every movie we watch outside of the United States features right-side driving? In reality, a majority of places in the world actually drive on the left side of the road.

This appears to be one of the few areas where Americans got it right, most likely because the United States was far ahead of other country’s when it came to developing automobiles for mass use.

Population Density Around The World Shown In A Single Map

Population Density Around The World
NASA’s Earth Observatory
NASA’s Earth Observatory

While there is a lot of landmass throughout our planet, a majority of the world’s population live within the confines of less than half the planet’s available space.

This isn’t really a shocking revelation. Populations of people have long congregated around areas of essential commerce and locations abundant with available water and natural resources. Many areas around the world are also simply not suited for supporting a lot of people, or any people at all.

What A World Map Should Actually Look Like

An Actual World Map with correct landmass sizes
Hobo-Dyer Equal Area Project Map
Hobo-Dyer Equal Area Project Map

The Hobo-Dyer Equal Area Project map shows what the world actually looks like when correct landmass sizes and dimensions are applied.

This is a vastly different look at our world and puts everything into proper perspective. We have to admit, before seeing the Hobo-Dyer map we didn’t know half of the countries on our planet were bigger or smaller than we have been taught to believe all of our lives.