MapsGeospatial - GIS

Compare the size of the countries

We have been taking a look at a very interesting page, called thetruesizeof, takes some years in the network and in it - in a very interactive and easy way-, the user can make comparisons of the surface area between one or several countries.

We are sure that after making use of this interactive tool, they will be able to have a better conception of the space, and verify how some countries are not really as big as our maps paint them. Also, how could these be seen in different latitudes. The visual differences between the sizes of the countries in this application is associated with the projection Universal Transversal Mercator, the countries that are more distant from Ecuador, are shown to have exaggerations in size.

We give as an example some comparisons, which becomes interesting. To use the application, you enter the web page from the browser, and after displaying the main view, the name of the country to be compared is located in the search engine, located in the upper left corner - the names are in language English-, Greenland was chosen (1).

After placing the name, the colored silhouette of the requested country will appear in the view (2). Subsequently, with the cursor, this silhouette can be dragged, towards the required place, in this case, it was placed over Brazil (3).

It is observed, as the projection has notably distorted the size of Greenland, making it believe that it is larger than Brazil, for example. With this web tool the opposite has been demonstrated completely, similar situation happens with Canada, its total surface, is practically equal to the one of the countries located to the north of South America.

One of the possibilities offered by this tool is the rotation of the silhouettes of the countries, by means of the rose of the winds, which is in the lower left corner of the web. In this way, the required silhouettes will be placed with a better disposition, on the surfaces, in order to determine if it covers all its extension

Now, after seeing how the platform works, we have chosen some examples, so that you can visually identify how misleading some maps can be, depending on their cartographic projection. Also because it rarely occurs to us to compare countries that are in different contexts; as an example, the famous SmartCity of all Singapore, whose size is barely the metropolitan area of ​​Madrid.


Spain and Venezuela

We start with a very curious comparison between Spain and Venezuela, at first glance, Spain seems to be more extensive than Venezuela. However, when you see the following image, you can see how Spain (orange color) fits almost entirely on the surface of Venezuela (yellow color), with the exception of the Canary Islands, which would be found on Peruvian soil. If we compare the total area of ​​both, the superficial difference would be of an 44%, that is, Venezuela is larger than Spain 1,5 times.

Ecuador and Switzerland

Between Ecuador and Switzerland the difference is also wide, let's see two cases. In the first one (1) one can see how Ecuador (green color) surpasses in extension to Switzerland (yellow color), and its islands such as the Galapagos would be located in the North Atlantic Ocean. In the second case (2), making the comparison, on the contrary, we could say that at least 5 times, the Swiss territory would enter the total area of ​​Ecuador.

Colombia and the United Kingdom

Another example is Colombia and the United Kingdom, which at first glance -as well as the previous ones-, it could be said that the surface area of ​​United Kingdom was much larger, thanks to its location (north latitude) in the maps that always We saw from the school.

In the first case, you can see what Colombia (green), may contain in its space, the whole area of ​​United Kingdom (violet color). To understand better, we took several silhouettes from the United Kingdom, we placed them on Colombia, and the result was that at least 4,2 could make up the Republic of Colombia.

Iran and Mexico

In the case of Iran and Mexico, they are two countries that are in the same latitude, and are close to Ecuador, visually its surface extension is very similar. Therefore, when making the comparisons, there is no greater difference between the two territories. The surface difference is 316.180 km2It is not representative, as it happens in the cases previously presented, although only that area of ​​difference is almost three times the area of ​​Honduras.

Australia and India

The surface difference between Australia and India is 4.525.610 km2, which indicates that there is a great difference of extension of the territory in both countries, if we place one inside another, it is observed that the surface of India (blue color) represents a little less than 50% of the Australian territory (fuchsia color) ( 1).

At least 2,2 can sometimes enter India on the Australian surface, as shown in the figure (2).

North Korea and United States of America

We continue making comparisons, in this case, the protagonists are the Democratic Republic of Korea (green color), and the eastern part of the United States of America If we place the silhouette in the eastern part of the US, it is evident that Korea adds the area of ​​at least three of its states North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

It is almost imperceptible the Democratic Republic of Korea, with respect to the vast North American territory. If we make the proper comparison, the US territory has an area of ​​9.526.468 km2, and Korea 100.210 km2, that is, we could only cover the United States if we put 95 times the surface of Korea on it.

Vietnam and United States of America

Vietnam, is a little broader than Korea (the previous case), the comparison will be made with the East of the United States of America, where it can be seen, that, by its elongated shape, can occupy part of several states of this country - from Washington, through Oregon, Idaho and Nevada to California.

As for the relationship between its extensions, we can say that, the total area of ​​Vietnam must be repeated at least 28 times, to cover the entire area of ​​the US territory.

Singapore vs. metropolitan areas

Finally, one of the countries that has had an abysmal growth, in recent years, has been identified until recently as the best approximations of intelligent in the world. For those who are unaware of its location and extension, it is on the Asian continent, it has a surface area of ​​721 km2.

The images show the comparison of Singapore with the metropolitan areas of Mexico DF (1), Bogotá (2) Madrid (3), and Caracas (4).

Ultimately, thetruesizeof is a very useful tool, easy to use and incredibly interactive, which can be very useful for pedagogical purposes in subjects such as Geography or Social Studies; as well as general culture for all.

Golgi Alvarez

Writer, researcher, specialist in Land Management Models. He has participated in the conceptualization and implementation of models such as: National Property Administration System SINAP in Honduras, Management Model of Joint Municipalities in Honduras, Integrated Cadastre-Registry Management Model in Nicaragua, Territory Administration System SAT in Colombia . Editor of the Geofumadas knowledge blog since 2007 and creator of the AulaGEO Academy that includes more than 100 courses on GIS - CAD - BIM - Digital Twins topics.

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