There are many ways to make a flat map of the world—each of them a unique distortion

10 min Source: The National Film Board of Canada (via AEON Video)


Although it may be easier to view the world as a whole on a flat map, it will never be as accurate or correctly proportioned as when displayed on a globe.


This 1947 vintage, educational movie animation demonstrates how every flat map of the world represents a grand compromise, which means including inaccuracies and disproportions. The narrator makes the following points: 
  • Initially using a grapefruit and then a turnip, the animation dissects these roundish objects to flatten the world.
  • The object is to see the globe on a flat surface instead of just a rotating globe
  • This demonstration shows that regardless of the shape or design of the flat map, some parts of the world will never represent their true shape.
  • The narrator concludes that there is no possible way to show an accurate picture of the world on a flat map.
  • It is only possible to draw an accurate flattened picture of one small part of the world at a time. 
  • The narrator concludes that that is why a globe is still the only way to show the entire world map accurately.