Thursday, March 23, 2017

We Look Smaller in Boston

Posted By on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 7:00 PM

click to enlarge COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA.COM
  • Courtesy of wikimedia.com
Students attending a Boston public school have another world map, the Peters projection map, next to the one most of us are used to looking at.
Boston’s public schools began phasing in the lesser-known Peters projection, which cuts the US, Britain and the rest of Europe down to size. Teachers put contrasting maps of the world side by side and let the students study them.
If you haven't seen it before, take a look at the Peters projection map at the top of the post. The U.S. and Europe are pretty much the same size as they are on the Mercator map we're used to seeing, but some of the other land masses get a whole lot bigger. South America is now twice as large as Europe instead of the same size, and Africa is far larger as well. The map has a more accurate north-south arrangement, with the U.S. and Europe farther to the north instead of occupying the middle area. (Fun fact: in the standard Mercator map, Germany is pretty much dead center, except in the maps where the U.S. is moved to the central spot.)

History is written by the winners, and they get to draw the maps as well, putting themselves in the center of the world and shrinking everyone else down to size. The Peters projection map is a more proportional, less Eurocentric approximation of what the spherical world should look like when it's flattened out on piece of paper. Boston public schools are doing a little something to put the world back into its proper balance.
In an age of “fake news” and “alternative facts”, city authorities are confident their new map offers something closer to the geographical truth than that of traditional school maps, and hope it can serve an example to schools across the nation and even the world.
A map with the Mercator proportions and orientation, the one we're used to, is below.

click to enlarge COURTESY OF MAPSWIRE.COM
  • Courtesy of mapswire.com

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