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Why every world map is wrong - Kayla Wolf


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TEDEd Animation

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Fourteen Greenlands could fit in Africa— but you wouldn’t guess it from most maps of the world. The fact is, every world map humans have ever made is wrong. Actually, it’s impossible to make a flat map of the whole spherical world 100% right. So why do we bother with these inaccurate maps at all? Kayla Wolf explores how even the simplest changes in map design can shift our point of view.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

The lesson started by revealing the surprising fact that fourteen Greenlands could fit inside the continent of Africa. Check out for a neat interactive map that allows you to move around different countries to see how their size compares to other countries and continents. If you’re looking for some more reading, here’s an article from Smithsonian Magazine about the history of maps and how far they have come over the past centuries. Vox News also made a video talking about the impossibility of accurate two-dimensional maps where they even use an inflatable globe to explore the concept, watch it here.

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Kayla Wolf
  • Director Hernando Bahamon
  • Narrator Alexandra Panzer
  • Music Manuel Borda
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Fact-Checker Eden Girma

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