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Three common misconceptions about the world map

What are the most common misconceptions about the world map? A few locational mistakes have time and again been reinstated by geography teachers, thus creating misconceptions in the young minds.

A story map by Esri illustrates what they call “some most common geographic mental misplacements.”

AfricaAfrican enigma

Ignorant as we have been, the continent of Africa has been depicted on maps much farther south than where it actually is. The continent of Africa houses vast deserts, tropical savanna, and many dense jungles. These features students naturally associate with subtropical Southern-Hemisphere climates.

We realize what went wrong when we see the continent in the context of the Equator. It is surprising to discover that two thirds of the continent actually lies north of the Equator.

Another common misconception is that Africa and South America lie parallel to each other. In reality, while the southern tip of Africa is roughly parallel to Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America extends yet another 1,400 miles south. The northern coast, on the other hand, reaches a latitude as far north as Norfolk, Virginia, in the United States.

EuropeEuropean paradox

Europe resides north of Africa in the Northern Hemisphere, but actually how north it is?Rather than situated due east across the pond from the United States, Europe is closer in its overall northiness to Canada. Similarities between climates of European cities and that of many cities in the United States, has led to unexpected comparisons. Venice, Italy, for example, sits as far north as Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Few other cities that indicate surprising latitudinal parity are: Edmonton-Dublin
Calgary-London, Vancouver-Paris, Chicago-Rome, New York-Madrid, Indianapolis – Valencia

south americaSouth American fallacy

It is popularly believed that North and South America are situated directly above and below each other; however, you will be surprised to learn that South America is actually far to the east of its conventionally-assumed location. The continent actually lies to the east of Jacksonville, Florida. South America is closer to Africa, its neighbor to the east, than it is to Houston, Texas.

The Green myth

The story map in discussion doesn’t talk about it, but we at geospatialworld feel the biggest misconception w.r.t depiction of countries on maps exists in case of Greenland. On the Mercator projectionGreenland appears to be roughly the same size as Africa. While, in reality, Greenland is 2 million square kilometres and Africa is 30 million square kilometres, nearly 14 and a half times larger!

Also Read: Story Maps: Bringing storytelling and mapping together