The True Size … (of Africa)

It is hard to represent our spherical world on flat piece of paper. Cartographers use something called a “projection” to morph the globe into 2D map. The most popular of these is the Mercator projection.

Every map projection introduces distortion, and each has its own set of problems. One of the most common criticisms of the Mercator map is that it exaggerates the size of countries nearer the poles (US, Russia, Europe), while downplaying the size of those near the equator (the African Continent). On the Mercator projection Greenland appears to be roughly the same size as Africa. In reality, Greenland is 0.8 million sq. miles and Africa is 11.6 million sq. miles, nearly 14 and a half times larger.

This app was created by James Talmage and Damon Maneice. It was inspired by an episode of The West Wing and an infographic by Kai Krause entitled “The True Size of Africa“. We hope teachers will use it to show their students just how big the world actually is.

Contact us at thetruesize at gmail dot com

The Impact of Obamacare, in Four Maps

 .. Over all, the gains are substantial: a seven-percentage-point drop in the uninsured rate for adults. But there remain troublesome regional patterns. Many people in the South and the Southwest still don’t have a reliable way to pay for health care, according to the new, detailed numbers from a pair of groups closely tracking enrollment efforts. Those patterns aren’t an accident. As our maps show, many of the places with high uninsured rates had poor coverage before the Affordable Care Act passed. They tend to be states with widespread poverty and limited social safety nets. Look at Mississippi and Texas, for example.

.. West Virginia started near the bottom of the pack in 2013. It had high rates of uninsurance and poverty, and ranked low on measures of public health. But state officials, health care providers and local advocacy groups embraced the Affordable Care Act wholeheartedly — and avoided the word Obamacare. The state didn’t just expand Medicaid, but also took extra efforts to identify residents who were likely to be eligible for new insurance, sought them out, and made it easier for them to sign up

.. In areas with large populations of Native Americans, the uninsured rate does not fully capture the population’s access to health care, since tribal members often get care from the Indian Health Service instead of traditional health insurance.