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AfrikaUK

The True Size of Africa A small contribution in the fight against rampant Immappancy, by Kai 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 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! COUNTRY AREA Papua New Guinea 462 Sweden 441 Japan 378 Germany 357 Norway 324 New Zealand 270 United Kingdom 243 Bangladesh 144 Greece 132 TOTAL 30.102 AFRICA 30.221 12  Top 100 Countries Area in square kilometers, Percentage Sources: Britannica, Wikipedia, Almanac FRANCE GERMANY ITALY Kai Krause 2010 SPAIN EASTERN EUROPE INDIA CHINA UNITED STATES ( with Alaska & Hawaii ) UK INDIA PART 2 CHINA PART 2 JAPAN PORTUGAL BELGIUM NETHERLANDS SWITZERLAND x 1000 km2 USA 9.629 China 9.573 India 3.287 Mexico 1.964 Peru 1.285 France 633 Spain 506 Italy 301 Nepal 147 Please note: The graphical layout of this map is meant purely as a visualization to illustrate the fact: Africa is much larger than almost everyone assumes! Even totally blurred outlines could have been used to make that point, however the table at left is very accurate, citing: No Rights Reserved This work is placed in the Public Domain Just for Reference: The Surface of the MOON 37.930 United States Europe India Japan China http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_and_outlying_territories_by_total_area Note for instance that the figure in the table for the USA does include Alaska and Hawaii, but they are not even used in the map, as are a handful of other entries (such as Norway and Sweden). The reason for this is that the map purposely uses the familiar shapes, as if you are ‘moving pieces in Google Maps’. Because the mathematically exact depiction, using equal area scaling, would be even more drastic, but would appear highly distorted. I chose to retain the commonly known outlines and proportions to tell the story, even if this conservative size has ‘left-over parts’. The small maps on the right are again the singular message: see some of the countries in direct relation to Africa, a view that is quite unfamiliar and rarely seen. It is worth looking at Bucky Fullers maps or the Peters equal area proposals, among many other beautiful attempts to display geographical information. Numerous other side-by-side comparisons have been made, this is by far not the first and hopefully not the last such map: someone should find the best fit of all puzzle pieces in a neutral projection. Until then, please do not take it all too literal (‘where is Ibiza??’) and simply take that one impression with you: Africa…. is immense. Ireland Kai Krause / Germany: True Size of Africa, 2010


AfrikaUK
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