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How All Maps Distort Reality

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How All Maps Distort Reality

There are many types of map projections and they all specialize in showing something different. Because these projecting show different things, it’s only natural that certain things will be distorted in each map. The curved surface of the earth can only be represented accurately on a globe. Map projections shown on flat surfaces such as a piece of paper. Most projections can only preserve one of the four metric relationships or properties of objects on a globe (area, shape, distance and direction). Distortions on large-scale maps are not a big deal because it’s just supposed to be an overview of a large area. An example would be that an Equal-area projection preserves areas consistently across the entire map; each are on the map is proportional to the area it occupies on the earth’s surface. This map slightly distorts shapes. The best example of this would be in a Conformal projection. One form of a Conformal map is the Mercator projection, which is designed for navigation. Mercator maps increasingly distort the north-south dimension away from the equator and distort the east-west dimension near the poles because of the parallel meridians that conic projections employ. Mercator marps exaggerate so much that Greenland and South America appear to be the same size; even though South America is 8 times larger than Greenland. All maps distort something; that is why there are many map projections so that when using them all, reality can come into focus.…...

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