What is a bias on a map? – This teaching of the Mercator Map is a prime example of what many know as map bias. Map bias can deeply affect the way people view the world and their inner sense of “importance.” When one sees their own country as larger, it may warp their views of the significance of other countries.
Can maps have biases? – While maps are undeniably useful for showing the world around us, they are undeniably biased since cartography is as “subjective as any other artistic endeavor,” writes art historian Nicole De Armandi. Maps can size landmasses inaccurately, orient hemispheres arbitrarily or show boundaries statically.
What does bias mean in geography? – The geographical bias on Wikipedia is an inequality in the distribution of its content with respect to the geographical association of article subjects. It is an element of criticism of Wikipedia, in addition to other biases, such as gender bias, racial bias, or ideological.
Why are maps skewed? – Because you can’t display 3D surfaces perfectly in two dimensions, distortions always occur. For example, map projections distort distance, direction, scale, and area.
Why is the Mercator map wrong? – The popular Mercator projection distorts the relative size of landmasses, exaggerating the size of land near the poles as compared to areas near the equator. This map shows that in reality, Brazil is almost as large as Canada, even though it appears to be much smaller on Mercator maps.
Why is the Mercator map distorted? – Because the linear scale of a Mercator map increases with latitude, it distorts the size of geographical objects far from the equator and conveys a distorted perception of the overall geometry of the planet.
How maps can confuse us? – There are also many ways in which geographic features (areas, lines, and points) are distorted. These distortions reflect a map’s function and also its scale. Maps covering small areas can include more realistic details, but maps that cover larger geographic areas include less detail by necessity.