Fighting “immappancy” by looking at the true size of Africa

Many people have skewed perceptions of the world due to maps. Americans are used to seeing the United States (and North America) as the focal point of their maps; woe to those who put eastern Asia as the main point or even the Southern Hemisphere as the right way up! (What is interesting in these cases is that it reduces the United States to more of an afterthought. This doesn’t fit American cultural perceptions of our ) Another issue is one of size: because of the typically used projections, Greenland can vary from the largest mass in the world to a small mass. Relative sizes can be difficult to judge.

To combat “immappancy” (which apparently is a mash-up of illiteracy and innumeracy), here is a graphic that shows the size of Africa. Notice how large it is: the contiguous United States, China, all of Europe, and India all fit inside it. Yet how many people would know the true size of Africa?

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