Compare Countries – How big is your home really?

I found this great site called comparea where you can compare the size of different locations (countires, provinces, states).

Anyway I’ve always been fascinated about the fact that there are more people in California (39.04 million) than Canada (34.88 million). The area differences are massive, and the amount of people in each place is surprisingly close, it’s usually surprising for people to hear that fact, but it’s even more shocking when you see it.

Can_cali
Canada vs california size – http://www.comparea.org/CAN+US_CA

California is 25 times smaller than Canada but there are 3.16 million more people there. That’s crazy, and super cool to visualize when you put them on the same page. 

Another great comparison I found is comparing Taiwan to British Columbia, for any locals around here, check out the difference in population and the similarity in size to Vancouver Island.

BC_Taiwan
BC vs Taiwan size – http://www.comparea.org/CA_BC+TWN

Also, the densely populated China comparea’d to Canada:

Can_china_size
Canada vs China size – http://www.comparea.org/CAN+CHN

Very close in area but absolutely not even close in terms of population. It’s easy to lose sight of how many people live in Canada, when you see it on a map it just looks huge.

Another interesting thing to note is that Comparea uses an Albers Equal Area conic projection for all of it’s comparisons. What this means is instead of the map that you’re used to seeing – the Mercator projection (see below) which distorts area of places as you approach the poles – you get an accurate representation of the sizes of two places. The Mercator projection was created in 1569 and helped sailors dramatically by giving them the ability to sail in straight lines for navigation, the reason why we are all so familiar with a map that is clearly telling a lie though is the subject for another post (and probably for a different author).

Mercator projection
Mercator Projection – the most commonly known version of the map http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/74/Mercator-projection.jpg

 So now compare the above map to this image showing the size of Greenland and the size of Africa:

Africa vs Greenland - http://www.comparea.org/GRL+AF
Africa vs Greenland – http://www.comparea.org/GRL+AF

Big time distortion as you approach the poles. Greenland is really not as big as it would appear. The same is true in a southern direction, check out the what Antarctica looks like compared to Africa below and then take a look back at the Mercator projection from two pictures ago.

Africa vs Antarctica - http://www.comparea.org/ATA+AF
Africa vs Antarctica – http://www.comparea.org/ATA+AF

Pretty interesting stuff, check out Comparea to find some really interesting size match ups and feel free to leave a comment with anything you find.

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