Classic atlas often show very large or very small countries. Now researchers have created a new representation of the Earth.
Apple maps may be the invention of the 21st century, but it is only thanks to 16th century equations. Anyone who looks at a route or city map sees a Mercator project. The two-dimensional image of the world was first created in 1569 by the Flemish scholar Hekart Mercator. A revolutionary technique by which one can travel around the world – but it also has drawbacks.
True to the Mercator project angle, this is important for navigation. However, the closer you get to the poles, the more it distorts surfaces. The island of Greenland, with an area of 2.2 million square kilometers on the Mercator world map, is as large as Africa, 30 million square kilometers. Although Antarctica is slightly larger than Europe, it appears to be more extensive than all the continents. The poles cannot be specified exactly, they do not appear as points in the Mercator plan, but as lines.
Three American scientists have now created a map of the world, which, according to their calculations, represents the most accurate two-dimensional image of the Earth to date. Trick: This is not a rectangular map, but a circular disk, like a log on the front and back. One side shows the northern hemisphere and the other the southern hemisphere. The equator runs along the edge of the disk. Of course, two disks can be placed on top of each other to see the whole earth at the same time.
“It’s like removing a balloon,” says Richard Gott, a professor of astronomy at Princeton University, one of the makers of the map. The round balloon becomes a flat structure. Similarly, new technology is transforming the three-dimensional globe into a two-dimensional disk – showing areas and distances more accurately than other projects.
Proper representation is a geography
As a result of decades of working with the map, it looks believable in retrospect. Created in 2007 Richard Together with David Goldberg of the University of Drexel, God created a scale to evaluate the decay of maps according to six criteria: local shapes, areas, distances, curvature of straight lines, “slope” and boundary cuts. On a classic world map on the wall of a classroom, the latter would simply be the end of the paper, cut across the Pacific. This puts Japan on the far right and Hawaii on the left – although the two archipelagos are certainly almost neighboring. According to the magnitude of the deviation of God and Goldberg, the only accurate representation of the Earth is the globe, whose magnitude is 0.
On the other hand, if you want to portray the world in two dimensions, you have to compromise because countless cartographers have already discovered it. So the Mercator project level reaches 8.30. It not only distorts surfaces, but also distances distances and paths. If you want to fly straight from New York to Tokyo, the flight path may not look like a straight line, but a curved one. Until now, the so-called Winkel-Triple-Projection was used in 1921 by the National Geographical Society for a design and world maps proposed by Oswald Winkel.
This implies a compromise between area and angular accuracy, so it distorts the size of the parts less, however, the latitudes must be curved. Overall, Winkel-Triple-Carde reached a deviation rating of 4.56. Not particularly satisfactory results for Richard Gott, David Goldberg and mathematician Robert Vanderbee, who conduct research in Princeton. All three initially succeeded in improving the angle-three projects with a few tricks, but only to a very limited extent. Finally, Polyhedra – from the line works on polyhedra, including cubes – and Emil Que’s map from 1886, in which the western and eastern hemispheres are shown separately, separated by a north-south line in the Atlantic.
Solution: Fold! If you fold this map in the middle across the Atlantic, you will get a two-sided map with minimal distortion, but a rectangular shape. From this step scientists are not far off going to the double sided disk. At the deviation level, the new «animate equilibrium scheme», the correct exposure reaches a record value of 0.881. These are better scores than the angle-three projects in all six individual categories. (Do you want to tinker with the card? You can You do it here.)
The dual disk has an absolute upper limit for distortion errors of 22.2 percent, while this value greatly increases at other latitudes at higher latitudes. The errors are small because it is easy to map one hemisphere at a time, This is stated in a paper published by researchers. However, the price is a before and after.
“If you’re an ant, you can crawl from the northern part of South America to the edge and move south.”
The new map is also unusual in another way: the two poles form the center of each page. However, it intersects the continents of South America, Africa and some countries in Southeast Asia at the equator, i.e. they extend on both sides of the disk. Richard Gott says, “They hang on the sides like a laundry towel. “If you’re an ant, you can crawl from the northern part of South America to the edge and move south.” For this reason, the inventors did not see drawing the boundary at the equator as a deviation, because things continue to be the other way around – one could argue about a classification.
However, the poles do not have to be at the center, and an equatorial version is also possible. One side of the disk shows the western hemisphere with the Pacific, New Zealand, North and South America, and the rest of the world with Africa, Eurasia and Australia.
U.S. researchers have already mapped many planets in this way, such as Mars, Jupiter or Saturn. At Saturn at the North Pole, a hexagonal storm continues to rage, which is particularly emphasized by the polar representation. Polar caps that are smaller than Earth can be found on Mars.
Nevertheless, the double panel was six points higher than the Mercator project by five. So it will not reform map services like Apple Map at any time. The reason Mercator is used for this is because the program manages local forms properly, says Richard Gott. For example, if you zoom in on a city on your mobile phone, it will appear exactly that The way it really appears. “This map is designed so you can zoom in.”
U.S. researchers are looking at possible applications of their dual program in the classroom to give students an accurate picture of the Earth. Discs are easier to distribute to students than countless globes, and they are easy to move away., By stacking on top of each other, God says. You can touch it, rotate it, turn it. “It simply came to our notice then In front of the digital world. “