Historically it's been very hard to represent a 3D planet on a 2D map. The Mercator projection was created as a way around this, but as the clever people at thetruesize.com show, all may not be as it seems...
1.Firstly, you can see how the size of the US drastically changes as you move it north or south.
2.And if Canada is moved down to where the US is, it's clear that they aren't as dissimilar in size as most people think.
3.People often forget how big Australia is because it's so far away from other land masses. Here's what happens when you move it over Europe.
4.Back to Alaska – this map shows that, while it's still the biggest US state, it's nowhere near as big as most maps make it look.
5.And if you move the USA's second largest state, Texas, over the top of it, you can see there isn't too much difference.
6.Or, at least, not THIS much difference.
7.Now onto a continent that usually takes up the whole of the bottom of a map – Antarctica.
8.This map shows how big the USA is compared with Europe, but it also does something else rather interesting...
9.And if you do the same thing with the UK, it's easy to understand why we're not exactly used to warm weather.
10.But because it's so far north, the UK also benefits from the shortcomings of the Mercator projection.
11.Greenland is arguably the place that is most blatantly taking the piss.
12.Overlaying California on top of the UK, you get a sense of just how tiny we really are.
13.Things really get crazy when you move the US (minus Alaska and Hawaii) down under.
14.Being so close to the equator, Africa gets mightily screwed by the Mercator projection. Here's what happens to the Democratic Republic of the Congo as you move it north.
15.And here's what happens when you overlay the five largest countries in Africa on top of the USA.
16.Staying with the States, a Reddit user had the great idea of seeing what would happen to a rectangular state, such as Colorado, as you move it north from the equator.
17.And finally, here's what happens when you place the 10 largest countries in the world next to each other on the equator.
And for anyone shouting, "I SAW THAT ON THE WEST WING", yes, yes you did. In fact, according to thetruesize.com, the app's creators were inspired to build it as a response to the famous scene.