Comparing country and continent sizes with Google Maps

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Here's an easy way to gauge the relative size of one or more areas with another. First decide on the areas to compare, then go to Google Maps and start with the largest. Scale the map until you can see the entire area within a single screen or page. You can then embed it within a site if you like. If we are to compare continents then, we would start with Asia. Here it is:






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All right, that's Asia at 500px width at 400px height. Now we use the same scale and simply change the size of the map to fit other continents. Let's go to Africa next:


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Africa comes in at a width of about 300px and height of 250px. Europe will be last as it's the smallest...off to North America.


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North America = width 350px, height 375px. South America feels like it should be similar but it's not:


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Width: 150px, height 250px. And finally off to Europe:


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200 x 200px including Turkey and the Caucasus, and if we go with just the EU:


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now the width is just 125px and height is 190px.

To tell whether this is accurate though we'd be best off comparing countries and regions with fairly simple borders and little to no water, and the closer their latitude the more accurate it would be. Poland vs. France vs. Botswana vs. Sudan vs. Saskatchewan vs. Wyoming...I'll do a test with those in a day or two or three to compare to their actual surface area to see how accurate these comparisons turn out to be. As a rough estimate, however, this is one of the easiest ways to show the relative size of one place with another.

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