Maps That Show How The World Really Is

For centuries, maps have provided critical pieces of information. In the past, cartographers used to visit far-flung places around the globe to be able to accurately place where they were. Nowadays, computers and specialized programs like Geographic Information Mapping System create the maps that you probably rely on every day without even thinking about it. Beyond just looking for the quickest route to work or the nearest local Starbucks, maps help us to understand the world, how its population is dispersed, and even how animals migrate. If you’ve ever wondered what the world looks like from different perspectives, then start scrolling this amazing collection of maps and infographs.

Greenland Compared To South America

World maps have a tendency to be deceiving. They make some continents or islands look small, and others look gigantic by comparison. 

Greenland, when placed in the Northern Hemisphere, always looks massive. Yet, when placed side by side with South America, it is clear that South America could completely swallow the island. It is a whopping 8.2 times bigger.

The Actual Population Dispersion Of The United States

The United States has a population size of just over 300 million. You would think that Americans would be evenly dispersed throughout the States, but this is not the case.

The United States has a population size of just over 300 million. You would think that Americans would be evenly dispersed throughout the States, but this is not the case.

Texas Vs. Africa

As the saying goes, “Everything is bigger in Texas,” and that is true for things like trucks, belt buckles, and steak. When it comes to the actual area of Texas when compared to the continent of Africa, there is a clear winner.

Texas is the size of an African country, but it cannot compete with the entire continent. The continent itself engulfs Texas, as it is 45 times bigger. The continent of Africa is not shown to scale on most maps, which is why a misconception that it is so small exists.


Staring up at the Milky Way and watching the stars dance across the sky is a fabulous nighttime activity. Large cities like New York City and Los Angeles make it difficult to see the stars.

For the stargazing lovers, the States with the least amount of light pollution are the ones in the middle of the country. Head to North Dakota or Wyoming and enjoy the night sky. If you’re on the coasts, you may have trouble seeing the stars twinkle.

Welcome To Middle America

To understand this map, you need to know what the orange and the red sections mean. Essentially, the population size in red is equal to the population size in orange. That means almost the same amount of people live on the coasts, as almost all of middle America. 

If you’re looking to buy some land and start a homestead, then head to the Midwest.

Air Traffic Control

Hundreds of airports dot the continental United States, and instead of being in their own individual zones, they belong to this unique set of borders. Instead of being named after the states, they surround, they are named after the major city that they service. 

There are 21 zones in total and within those, each airport is responsible for the airspace above it. That airspace has a radius of about five miles.

Understanding Land Use

The United States is fortunate to have a wide variety of ecosystems and biomes that allow for different sorts of industries and land uses. Each part of the country has a designated area for sectors like agriculture, defense, and forestry, and the list goes on and on. 

If you examine this map closely, you will see exactly where flowers for florists come from and where biodiesel is allowed to be produced. Most of the country is dedicated to farming in the center, with heavier industry along the coasts.

The Mongolian Empire

Throughout history, empires have risen and fallen. In 1279, the Mongolian Empire was the biggest empire by immediate landmass that the world had ever seen, and it retains this title to this day. 

While empires like the Roman and the Greek were also large, they were dispersed and not a cohesive landmass like the Mongolian one. Genghis Khan was the mastermind behind much of this empire.

The Island Nation Of New Zealand

By now, we know that the United States of America is a massive country that dwarfs smaller nations. New Zealand, found in Oceania, has been superimposed over America to once more prove how big it is.

New Zealand, the country responsible for the magnificent landscapes in The Lord of the Rings sits comfortably inside the borders of America. In fact, it is 3,558 percent smaller, which puts it around the same size as the United Kingdom.

Where The Imperial System Is Used

There are two systems of measurement used around the globe: the imperial system and the metric system. Most countries, with a few minor exceptions and one very big one, utilize the metric system of meters, liters, and grams.

The United States uses the imperial system which involves miles, yards, and gallons. What’s interesting, is that the British are responsible for the introduction of the imperial system, and it continues to be a holdover from the colonial period. Liberia, in West Africa, and Myanmar, in Southeast Asia are the only other countries that use it.

Here’s Where American Forests Are

Forestry is a huge industry, and in order to make it sustainable, trees cut down need to be replaced. The United States is home to almost one-tenth of the globe’s forests, which makes it a major contributor of timber on the world market.

Forestry is a booming industry, and while heavy logging does contribute to the decline of forests, tree-planting programs have actually helped abate this. City mayors and local councilors consistently institute tree planting programs, which is keeping America green.

Railroad To Nowhere

Catching the train, and watching the landscape pass by, is one of the most relaxing modes of transportation out there. During the Industrial Revolution in America, companies began to build railroads in the belief that every city and town would be connected. 

By 1893, this dream came to an end. It was known as ‘the Panic’, and it was a time of economic turmoil which saw many businesses and families go bankrupt. Due to that, there are railroads to nowhere all over the United States.

The Great Flamingo Migration

Bright pink flamingoes can be found in the wild, but only in very specific coastal regions in the world. Flamingoes don’t enjoy cold climates, which means their migratory patterns bring them to the sunny shores of the Southern Hemisphere.

The pink on this map shows that flamingoes enjoy hanging out in South America, Africa, and parts of Asia. Next time you see a flamingo perched on one leg, think about how far they have flown to get there.

The State Of California

California, known for its size, the plethora of celebs, and sunny beaches could be a country itself based on its size. The state itself has a population of over 39 million, which is more than the population of all of Canada.

To put this into even more perspective, California is bigger than Italy by about 25 percent. Italy does win in population size though, as it has more than 60 million citizens living within its borders.

Highways To Everywhere

While railroads might have faded into the past in the United States, highways have not. The United States’ Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is the administrative body responsible for expanding the already impressive amount of miles of highway in existence.

To date, there are 157,724 miles of highway running throughout the continental United States. These highways connect each state, town, and county to one another and require a lot of maintenance. Oddly enough, maintenance is not done on the federal level and is instead left to state authorities. That’s why some highways are better maintained than others.

Australia And The United States Showdown

Australia is both an island and a continent, which puts it in a very special position. This island nation, found in the Pacific Ocean, is home to the largest coral reef in the world, and some of the most poisonous plants and spiders on the planet. In terms of size, it gives the United States a run for its money.

In terms of size, Australia is 27 percent smaller than the United States, which is illustrated on this map. It may be a smaller country, but it also has a much smaller population to support. America needs all the space it has to support its growing population.

The Population Of LA County

With such a huge population, some of the counties in the United States are stuffed to the brim with people. Los Angeles County, found in the state of California has a population size that is bigger than the state population for the majority of America.

Stuffed within that tiny county are over 10 million people who call the place home! The county population is similar to the state populations in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and New York, just to name a few. Finding decent housing here must cost some serious dollars!

Cuba Compared To Hudson Bay

The island nation of Cuba has been a popular holiday destination for decades, and with its recent opening to the United States, Americans have begun to flock there. Cuba might look like it is fairly big on a world map, but when compared to Hudson Bay in North America, it looks smaller than a lot of the provinces surrounding the Bay.

Cuba is about one-twelfth the size of Hudson Bay, and when it’s placed smack dab in the center of it, it looks like it is sitting underneath the water. If Cuba starts sinking like the Maldives, it will become nothing more than a sand bar, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Book a vacation, and go lounge on its sunny shores.

Sizing And Population Density

A lot of the states within America are sparsely populated, especially those in middle America and in the Pacific Northwest. It’s not because people don’t want to live here, but for the Pacific area it is quite expensive, and in the Midwest, there are not as many job opportunities as in the cities.

Based on population density, this is how the states would look if they were turned into a map. As you can see, most of the population continues to be along the coasts and along the border with Canada. If you feel like moving and getting away from densely populated centers, then this map will help you.

Land Mass Of China And America

The most populous country in the world is China. The country in East Asia has held this title for many years, and luckily, it does have a large landmass to support the ever-growing population. However, the United States does give it a run for its money, in terms of land size.

When superimposed over each other, the United States just squeaks by and is a tad bigger in terms of land size. The two populous countries are almost identical in size, but America is 9,833,517 sg km and China is 9,596,961 sq km. If this was a competition, the United States would be the land size winner.

Favorite Coffee Chains

The United States is full of little bistros and cafes with their own carefully made brews. Some serve up delicious cold brews, while others focus on fancy coffees full of frothy designs on top that baristas dream up. When it comes to coffee chains though, there are three brands that reign supreme.

For most of the states, Starbucks, which originated in Seattle, Washington is the go-to for most coffee lovers. On the Eastern seaboard, Dunkin’ Donuts is a contender for second place, with most of the east coast states preferring it. Caribou Coffee in Minnesota gets an honorable mention, as it is the only state that likes that chain. 

India And The United States

Behind China, India is the country with the second-largest population. Its borders contain roughly 1 billion people, dispersed all throughout the country. When looking at a world map, India does not appear to be that big, but in reality, it is the seventh biggest country in the world.

With India superimposed over the United States, we are once more reminded of the size of America. India may be large and have a massive population, but it is still dwarfed by the North American giant. It is about half the size of America, which is still very big. World maps need to start doing it a bit more justice and showing its scale.

Countries With Lower Populations

While we have seen a lot of maps featuring the United States and its population size and density, there are still dozens of other countries that deserve some attention. This map shows all of the countries that have populations less than 100 million, which is quite a few.

One of the reasons countries like New Zealand, Canada, and Australia have significantly smaller populations and large land sizes are due to the climate itself. The harsh arctic climate in Northern Canada makes it very difficult for people to live there, and the arid desert climate in parts of Australia is the same. That means that countries with pleasant climates, tend to have bigger populations.

The Mediterranean Sea of America

There’s a common stereotype that many Americans have never even left the country to travel the world. Everything they see is from the perspective of the US, including the oceans surrounding the country and the Great Lakes in the middle. So many Americans have trouble conceptualizing the size of other places around the globe. The Mediterranean Sea, for instance: how big is it really? It may not be so easy to grasp its true size from looking at a regular map.

With some complicated graphic manipulation and excellent Photoshop skills, this internet user has come up with a map to show the true scale of the Mediterranean Sea and its surrounding countries — Overlaid perfectly on the contiguous United States. Goodbye Midwest, hello Italian Riviera!

The Nearest Country To Everywhere In The US

Most of the time when we think about countries around the United States, the only two that come to mind are Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. But there are entire regions of the United States that are closer to entirely different countries, especially the often-overlooked states of Alaska and Hawaii. Needless to say, most of the US is indeed closest to Canada or Mexico. But what are the other nearby countries? 

In fact, about half of Alaska is closer to Russia than to anywhere else — even Canada. And most of the Southeast US, including Florida, is closer to the Bahamas than to Mexico. And how many of us knew that Hawaii was so close to Kiribati?