And they’re right! For example, consider icy Greenland. At 836,000 square miles, it’s only 7-percent of the land area of Africa. However, à la Mercator, the two appear equal: Why? As with any map projection, Mercator is a trade-off. Ancient compass-wielding navigators loved Mercator’s lines of constant heading, and without its faithful local angles and parallel lines of latitude/longitude, online maps would be downright confusing. The mathematical cost? Magnification, fun house mirror style! Mercator oversizes Greenland because it sits so much closer to the poles than Africa. So, for equality sake, let’s do a switcheroo. What would happen if we swapped Africa with Greenland – dragging the Mediterranean coast up to 81 degrees North and the ice cap south to the Equator? Well, besides a bunch of sunburnt Inuit and shivering Egyptians, we’d see something like this: Source.