How Do Countries Really Compare To Each Other On The Map


How Do Countries Really Compare To Each Other On The Map

map via

We’re all used to hearing about Russia being the largest country in the world in terms of surface area. And this is true. But in order to make sure, we turn to a map and look at just how big Russia is. And it’s huge! It’s even bigger than the whole of Africa, isn’t it? And then we turn and look somewhere else; probably at Greenland. Not as big as Russia, but not that small either. It definitely is much bigger than the United States. What’s going on? It almost looks like it’s the size of Africa or South America.

Then there are the countries on the other ends of the spectrum. Countries like India. With over 1.2 billion people, there’s now so many people fit in there. The same thing can be said about Brazil. Even though it doesn’t look it, Brazil is the 5th country in the world in terms of surface area.

The Wagner VI projection

So, what the heck is happening there? The answer, though logical, seems to be a bit counterintuitive. This is especially because of the map we’re used to seeing. As most of us heard, it is hard to put something on a flat surface, which is “drawn” on a sphere. Basically, the maps that we’re used to, focus on the Equator as the “baseline” and the further away we go towards the poles, the more the surface is stretched out in order for everything to be positioned correctly.

With that being said, places close to the poles are made bigger and stretched, and that’s why places like Greenland or Russia look so huge as compared to other places. The same thing applies to Antarctica which, being situated right on top of the South Pole, looks like it covers the entirety of the base of the map.

Now, let’s take a look at how countries actually compare to each other if we were to look at them if they were literally one on top of the other. Thanks to the guys at thetruesize, we were able to do just that. Give it a try.


Greenland – 2,166,086 sq km – 836,109 sq mi

 Australia – 7,692,024 sq km – 2,969,907 sq mi

The US vs Australia

Mexico – 1,972,550 km sq – 761,606 sq mi – 13th in the world


Russia – 17,075,200 sq km – 6,592,772 sq mi – Largest country in the world

Alaska – 1,717,856 sq km – 663,268 sq mi

China – 9,596,961 sq km – 3,705,407 sq mi – 3rd Country by surface area

India – 3,287,263 sq km – 1,269,346 sq mi – 7th in the World

The Democratic Republic of Congo – 2,345,409 sq km – 905,355 sq mi – 11th in the World

Other African Countries vs Russia

Top Six Contenders on the Equator

The Gall—Peters projection

A rough estimation based on actual area
Probably the most accurate map yet – designed by Hajime Narukawa