October 15, 2010

Duly waging war against "immapacy," teacher Kai Krause recently created an image for his students detailing just how big Africa really is.

Kai writes,

In addition to the well known social issues of illiteracy and innumeracy, there also should be such a concept as "immappacy," meaning insufficient geographical knowledge. 
A survey of random American schoolkids let them guess the population and land area of their country. Not entirely unexpected, but still rather unsettling, the majority chose "1-2 billion" and "largest in the world," respectively.
Even with Asian and European college students, geographical estimates were often off by factors of 2-3. This is partly due to the highly distored nature of the predominantly used mapping projections (such as Mercator). 
A particularly extreme example is the worldwide misjudgment of the true size of Africa. This single image tries to embody the massive scale, which is larger than the USA, China, India, Japan, and all of Europe ... combined!

I hate to say it, but Kai me a vision for the brevity of this continent I hadn't had before, despite living there for two summers -

find the story (and larger image) here. 

Happy weekend.