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The world map you know and love? It's been lying to you.

The traditional world map, known as the Mercator projection, seriously messes up the size of countries.

Look at a world map lately? You were probably looking at a big rectangle of lies.

The video above, from the YouTube channel RealLifeLore, takes a look at how deceptive the traditional world map — known as the Mercator projection — can be.

“As we can all hopefully agree upon, the Earth is a sphere,” the video explains. “And that means that it is impossible to accurately depict her surface on a two-dimensional map.”

Due to how the Mercator projection works, the more north or south a landmass is, the more deceptively large it appears. The result: A lot of places — like Russia, Alaska, and even all of Europe — appear to be way larger than they are in reality. (One great site for visualizing this is The True Size Of, which lets you overlay different countries on top of one another to gauge their real size.)

The United Kingdom, as an example of one country that appears bigger than it is, is actually smaller than Japan, New Zealand, and the Philippines. And Canada, as another example, is in fact very close to the size of China.

Oh, and Africa is enormous. Look how many countries — including the United States, China, India, several European nations, and more — you could put in there:

RealLifeLore

The video description does note that not all is bad about the Mercator projection: “it's actually a really useful map for navigation and on keeping the correct shape of countries while sacrificing the size that we can all laugh about!”

Still, it certainly doesn’t feel great to suddenly learn that Canada is way smaller than you always thought.


Watch: The bad map we see every presidential election

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