World map

A world map on the Winkel tripel projection,
a low-error map projection[1] adopted by the National Geographic Society for reference maps
The most detailed, true-color map of the entire Earth to date

A world map is a map of most or all of the surface of Earth. World maps, because of their scale, must deal with the problem of projection. Maps rendered in two dimensions by necessity distort the display of the three-dimensional surface of the earth. While this is true of any map, these distortions reach extremes in a world map. Many techniques have been developed to present world maps that address diverse technical and aesthetic goals.[2]

Charting a world map requires global knowledge of the earth, its oceans, and its continents. From prehistory through the Middle ages, creating an accurate world map would have been impossible because less than half of Earth's coastlines and only a small fraction of its continental interiors were known to any culture. With exploration that began during the European Renaissance, knowledge of the Earth's surface accumulated rapidly, such that most of the world's coastlines had been mapped, at least roughly, by the mid-1700s and the continental interiors by the twentieth century.

Maps of the world generally focus either on political features or on physical features. Political maps emphasize territorial boundaries and human settlement. Physical maps show geographical features such as mountains, soil type, or land use. Geological maps show not only the surface, but characteristics of the underlying rock, fault lines, and subsurface structures. Choropleth maps use color hue and intensity to contrast differences between regions, such as demographic or economic statistics.

Map projections

All world maps are based on one of several map projections, or methods of representing a globe on a plane. All projections distort geographic features, distances, and directions in some way. The various map projections that have been developed provide different ways of balancing accuracy and the unavoidable distortion inherent in making world maps.

Perhaps the best known projection is the Mercator Projection, originally designed as a nautical chart.

Thematic maps

A thematic map shows geographical information about one or a few focused subjects. These maps "can portray physical, social, political, cultural, economic, sociological, agricultural, or any other aspects of a city, state, region, nation, or continent".[3]

Historical maps

Early world maps cover depictions of the world from the Iron Age to the Age of Discovery and the emergence of modern geography during the early modern period. Old maps provide information about places that were known in past times, as well as the philosophical and cultural basis of the map, which were often much different from modern cartography. Maps are one means by which scientists distribute their ideas and pass them on to future generations.[4]

See also

References

  1. ^ Large-Scale Distortions in Map Projections, 2007, David M. Goldberg & J. Richard Gott III, 2007, V42 N4.
  2. ^ American Cartographic Association's Committee on Map Projections (1988). Choosing a World Map. Falls Church: American Congress on Surveying and Mapping. pp. 1–2.
  3. ^ Thematic Maps Map Collection & Cartographic Information Services Unit. University Library, University of Washington. Accessed 27 December 2009.
  4. ^ "History of maps and cartography". emporia.edu.

Further reading

Media files used on this page

OrteliusWorldMap1570.jpg
Ortelius World Map Typvs Orbis Terrarvm, 1570.
Mercator 1569.png
Carta do Mundo de Mercator (1569)
The Earth seen from Apollo 17.jpg
"The Blue Marble" is a famous photograph of the Earth taken on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft en route to the Moon at a distance of about 29,000 kilometres (18,000 mi). It shows Africa, Antarctica, and the Arabian Peninsula.
The Earth seen from Apollo 17 with transparent background.png
"The Blue Marble" is a famous photograph of the Earth taken on December 7, 1972 by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft en route to the Moon at a distance of about 29,000 kilometers (18,000 statute miles). It shows Africa, Antarctica, and the Arabian Peninsula.
Solar system.jpg
This is a montage of planetary images taken by spacecraft managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. Included are (from top to bottom) images of Mercury, Venus, Earth (and Moon), Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. The spacecraft responsible for these images are as follows:
  • the Mercury image was taken by Mariner 10,
  • the Venus image by Magellan,
  • the Earth and Moon images by Galileo,
  • the Mars image by Mars Global Surveyor,
  • the Jupiter image by Cassini, and
  • the Saturn, Uranus and Neptune images by Voyager.
  • Pluto is not shown as it is no longer a planet. The inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Moon, and Mars) are roughly to scale to each other; the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) are roughly to scale to each other. PIA 00545 is the same montage with Neptune shown larger in the foreground. Actual diameters are given below:
  • Sun (to photosphere) 1,392,684 km
  • Mercury 4,879.4 km
  • Venus 12,103.7 km
  • Earth 12,756.28 km
  • Moon 3,476.2 km
  • Mars 6,804.9 km
  • Jupiter 142,984 km
  • Saturn 120,536 km
  • Uranus 51,118 km
  • Neptune 49,528 km
BlankMap-World-162E.svg
A political map of the world centered at the 162E longitude line.

Detailed SVG map with grouping enabled to connect all non-contiguous parts of a country's territory for easy colouring. Smaller countries can also be represented by larger circles to show their data easier.

A thorough description of use and other instructions relating to can be found on the instruction page
Laurasia-Gondwana.svg
Author/Creator: Lennart Kudling, Licence: CC BY 3.0
The continents Laurasia-Gondwana 200 million years ago.
2016 UN Human Development Report.svg
Author/Creator: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Happenstance, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Human Development Index Report (Published March 21 2017).
  0.900–0.949
  0.850–0.899
  0.800–0.849
  0.750–0.799
  0.700–0.749
  0.650–0.699
  0.600–0.649
  0.550–0.599
  0.500–0.549
  0.450–0.499
  0.400–0.449
  0.350–0.399
  Data unavailable
Worldmaphedo.jpg
World map according to ideas by Posidonius (150-130 B.C.), drawn by 16th century cartographers Petrus Bertius & Melchior Tavernier in 1628. Many of the details in this map couldn't have been known by Posidonius, rather, Bertius and Tavernier show Posidonius' ideas about the positions of the continents
Gall–Peters projection SW.jpg
Author/Creator: Strebe, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
The world on Gall–Peters projection. 15° graticule. Imagery is a derivative of NASA’s Blue Marble summer month composite with oceans lightened to enhance legibility and contrast. Image created with the Geocart map projection software.
Köppen-vereinfacht.svg
Author/Creator: LordToran, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
This SVG map shows the macroclimates of the Earth.
CO2 responsibility 1950-2000.svg
Author/Creator: Vinny Burgoo, Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0
Cumulative per capita responsibility for anthropogenic CO2

Data from the World Resources Institute's CAIT 4.0 database (registration required). Includes CO2 emitted up to the year 2000 only (not CH4, N20, PFCs, HFCs or SF6). Estimates of the effects of land-use change are included; bunker-fuel emissions are not. The scale is a 0-100 decay-weighted index.

The land-use estimates include the following (list from the relevant CAIT data note):

  • Clearing of natural ecosystems for permanent croplands (cultivation)
  • Clearing of natural ecosystems for permanent pastures (no cultivation)
  • Abandonment of croplands and pastures with subsequent recovery of carbon stocks to

those of the original ecosystem

  • Shifting cultivation (swidden agriculture) (repeated clearing, abandonment, and reclearing

of forests in many tropical regions)

  • Wood harvest (industrial wood as well as fuel wood) - it is important to note that these

estimates include the emissions of carbon from wood products (burned, stored in longterm pools, decayed over time)

  • For the U.S. only, management of wildfires and woody encroachment

Also from the CAIT data note: "It is also important to note that the calculated flux of carbon does not explicitly include changes in carbon stocks that may result from various forms of management. Examples of what is not included are agricultural intensification, fertilization, the trend to no-till agriculture, thinning of forests, changes in species or varieties, and other silvicultural practices."

And the data note warns that "these estimates of national sources and sinks of carbon from land-use change are uncertain on the order of +/- 150% for large fluxes, and +/- 50 MtC/yr for estimates near zero."

So CAIT's land-use estimates are a bit wild. They are, however, the best currently available at a national level.
World Map 1689.JPG
World map - Produced in Amsterdam
First edition : 1689. Original size : 48.3 x 56.0 cm. Produced using copper engraving. Extremely rare set of maps, only known in one other example in the Amsterdam University. No copies in American libraries. In original hand color.
Blank-map-world-south-up.png
South-up map of the world with political borders
Winkel triple projection SW.jpg
The world on Winkel tripel projection. 15° graticule. Imagery is a derivative of NASA’s Blue Marble summer month composite with oceans lightened to enhance legibility and contrast. Image created with the Geocart map projection software.
BlackMarble20161km.jpg
This composite image shows Earth's night lights as observed in 2016. The compositing technique selected the best cloud-free nights in each month over each land mass. The team has also reprocessed 2012 data with the new techniques so that researchers can compare and contrast light sources over the years. By late 2017, Román and colleagues hope to provide daily high-definition views of Earth at night.
Population density of countries 2018 world map, people per sq km.svg
Author/Creator: Giorgi Balakhadze, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Population density of countries 2018 world map, people per sq km
Life Expectancy 2008 Estimates CIA World Factbook.png
Author/Creator: User: Panos84 (Panagiotis V. Lazaridis), Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0

Life Expectancy at birth (years)

Life expectancy at birth (years) world map including:


1) 191 United Nations member states (all except Montenegro)

2) Republic of China - Taiwan

3) Western Sahara territory

4) 27 non-sovereign entities marked with a white hyphen (-) or a black asterisk (*):

- 23 dependent territories

- Hong-Kong and Macau: Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China.

- Occupied Palestinian Territories: West Bank and Gaza Strip.


Mollweide projection SW.jpg
Author/Creator: Strebe, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
The world on Mollweide projection. 15° graticule. Imagery is a derivative of NASA’s Blue Marble summer month composite with oceans lightened to enhance legibility and contrast. Image created with the Geocart map projection software.
Mercator projection SW.jpg
Author/Creator: Strebe, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
The world on Mercator projection between 82°S and 82°N. 15° graticule. Imagery is a derivative of NASA’s Blue Marble summer month composite with oceans lightened to enhance legibility and contrast. Image created with the Geocart map projection software.
Anaximander world map-en.svg
Possibly what the lost first map of the world by Anaximander looked like.
Azimuthal equidistant projection SW.jpg
Author/Creator: Strebe, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
The world on azimuthal equidistant projection. 15° graticule, polar aspect. Imagery is a derivative of NASA’s Blue Marble summer month composite with oceans lightened to enhance legibility and contrast. Image created with the Geocart map projection software.
Robinson projection SW.jpg
Author/Creator: Strebe, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
The world on Robinson projection. 15° graticule. Imagery is a derivative of NASA's Blue Marble summer month composite with oceans lightened to enhance legibility and contrast. Image created with the Geocart map projection software.
World map.png
Author/Creator: unknown, Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0
TabulaRogeriana.jpg
Copy of Al Idrisi Tabula Rogeriana with arabic names translitterated into the roman alphabet. The original has north at the bottom, so it appears "upside down". Please do not rotate it to have north at the top, as we seek to preserve the original.
Blue Marble 2002.png
This spectacular “blue marble” image is the most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth to date. Using a collection of satellite-based observations, scientists and visualizers stitched together months of observations of the land surface, oceans, sea ice, and clouds into a seamless, true-color mosaic of every square kilometer (.386 square mile) of our planet. These images are freely available to educators, scientists, museums, and the public.

Much of the information contained in this image came from a single remote-sensing device-NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS. Flying over 700 km above the Earth onboard the Terra satellite, MODIS provides an integrated tool for observing a variety of terrestrial, oceanic, and atmospheric features of the Earth. The land and coastal ocean portions of these images are based on surface observations collected from June through September 2001 and combined, or composited, every eight days to compensate for clouds that might block the sensor’s view of the surface on any single day.

Two different types of ocean data were used in these images: shallow water true color data, and global ocean color (or chlorophyll) data. Topographic shading is based on the GTOPO 30 elevation dataset compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey’s EROS Data Center. MODIS observations of polar sea ice were combined with observations of Antarctica made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s AVHRR sensor—the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer. The cloud image is a composite of two days of imagery collected in visible light wavelengths and a third day of thermal infra-red imagery over the poles. Global city lights, derived from 9 months of observations from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, are superimposed on a darkened land surface map.
World Map (political).svg
A political map of the world in the Robinson projection, with no legend.