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)
PME All levels


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.