Spatial Literacy: Peters vs Mercator

From my personal experience, the spatial literacy of people I come across is down right appalling. It really irks me when someone shows a pitiful understanding of our world. Even worse are people who seem to be proud to be stupid. These people are insecure about their lack of knowledge. They don’t want to learn.

In an interconnected world, it is even more important that we have a good understanding about out physical context. Lets start with something as basic as how big or small countries and continents area according to their land area. To understand something as simple as this requires the correct tool, i.e. a map that represents the correct land area of every single country and continent. It should be common knowledge that a sphere cannot be represented exactly in 2D. One of the characteristics, of area, shape or direction, must be sacrificed. So, the correct tool in this case is the world mapped using the Peters projection. However, because most people are happily unaware of this notion, they will look at a Mercator projection and believe Greenland is bigger than Africa.

Land Area: Peters vs Mercator


This is cartographic colonialism. The use of Mercators undermine how massive Africa is, and thus undermines its importance in the world. The USA is insignificant in size compared to Africa. Europe is insignificant in size compared to Africa.

Its time the ignorant majority start to learn the basics. Unless you are planning to sail around the world in a small wooden ship at some point in your life, Mercator map is redundant to you.

Whenever you can, use a Peters Map. If their is a Mercator in your school or place of work, tear it down and put up a Peters.



2 thoughts on “Spatial Literacy: Peters vs Mercator

  1. Great job writing this piece on some useful information!
    Except maybe, just maybe, instead of acting like a pompous dick you could just share the information properly instead of proudly strutting around declaring you are somehow superior because you accidentally picked this up at some point.
    Some people just don’t know, that doesn’t make us ignorant, it just means nobody bothered to tell us properly. God forbid you would.

    • Hello V!

      Well, reading it back (for the first time since it was written 2 years ago) it does sound rather condescending to say the least! It is a reflection of my mind at a point in time. Angry with the world and from not being listened to. I didn’t expect to actually read it.

      Obviously it genuinely pissed you off, but I’m glad you pointed it out.

      The text aside, I hope the image was helpful to you 🙂

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