Peters Projection Map

Dr. Platypus shared a great clip from The West Wing that featured the Peters Projection Map. Perhaps it will “freak out” some readers of this blog as much as it did some characters on the show.

Here’s the clip:

And here’s the map:

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  • Andrew Vogel

    Love it.

  • Chris

    This was great! "Yeah, but you can't do that." "Why?" "Cause it's freakin me out!"

  • James Pate

    Yeah, Cartographers for Social Justice.

  • Esteban Vázquez

    Um, HELLO, James? The map proposed by Cartographers for Social Justice on Leo's "Big Block of Cheese Day" was flipped upside down.Please respect the integrity of the canonical corpus of the first four Sorkinian seasons of The West Wing, kthx.;-)

  • James Pate

    What I don't understand is…when we see space shots of the earth, the countries look like they do on regular maps, and they're right side up. I wonder where the Cartographers for SJ are getting their map–unless the countries are as big as they say but they look a certain way on a globe.

  • James F. McGrath

    Hi James. They usually get published "right-side up" because that's the way we usually look at them, but in space, obviously one can look at the planet from any angle – there's no "up" or "down" in any absolute sense. And so the whole notion of "north" as "up" is completely arbitrary.I found some links to photos of Africa from space. They certainly give the same impression of the proportional size compared to Europe that the Peters Map does. Perhaps part of the problem is that few Americans ever look at Africa from space unless they have a specific reason to? To be honest, I didn't until now…

  • James Pate

    Yeah, Africa does look huge in those pictures.

  • chris

    Perhaps the sarcasm is going over my head, but I thought it was well known that there is no accurate 2D map. Mapping a sphere onto a plane loses something somewhere. Either the scale is off, or the directions are off, but only a globe can give a correct representation of a sphere.This shouldn't freak anyone out. I thought it was well known. Go play with Google Earth. Pan to Africa and rotate the world. Try to position the South Pacific so that the largest visible bit of land is Hawaii. Look at the world from the pole. There's a reason every flight from anywhere in Europe enters the US over Nova Scotia.It's fascinating, but not earth-shattering.