June 22, 2005

Peters Projection

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Peters Projection Map of Earth Wha … forgive us for having learned about the Peters Projection map of Earth from The West Wing, but as it turns out, it's real. Apparently the problem with depicting Earth on a flat surface is that, well, it's just not flat, and so you get distortions, particularly in size. The problem is that any attempt at a flat depiction distorts one thing or another. Countries are depicted as similar in size when one may be four times as large. And there's always the "partly-peeled orange" depiction that is so difficult to view for long — but I'm guessing that, as it was apparently taken from a spherical view, land masses at the Equator may appear larger than they are.

So. The Mercator version of Earth that we're all so used to is distorted, as is the Peters Projection map from the same website. An article from The New Internationalist gives us a side-by-side visual comparison of various maps of Earth in its article The New Flat Earth, along with brief analyses of each (scroll down; or you can always read the whole article).

That said, we're happy to see, then, the NASA.gov photo of Earth. At least, we trust it's a photograph given that credits were given to Apollo 17 Crew, NASA, whom we're assuming did not polish up on their sketching skills to produce the image. On the other hand, who knows?

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