How Can I Do This?
At the end of 2019 Kristin received the following letter from a student:
I am trying to draw a map of the world with all the states and countries. I was wondering what size papers I should use to make everything be to scale. I tried doing the United States on 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 (A6), Canada and Greenland on 5 1/2 x 7 1/8, South America on 8 1/2 x 11, Europe on 4 1/4 x 5 1/2, Asia 1 and 2 on 4 1/4 x 5 1/2, Oceania on 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 and Africa on 4 1/4 x 5 1/2, but when I glued them all together Greenland – U.S. – Canada – South America was twice as tall as Europe – Africa – Asia. I was wondering if you know what sizes of paper I should use for each Section. Thank you for your help.
Give This a Try
Kristin gets a similar question every once in while. It has been partially answered here: Are all the map books the same scale? For this question from R., Kristin put together a more detailed response.
Thank you so much for your letter. It sounds like you have been working very hard to get these maps to join together. I’m sorry it’s so difficult.
Unfortunately the continent books are not all drawn from the same perspective on the globe, nor are they all the same scale/size. Draw the World is intended to give students an idea of scale and placement of the continents and the individual books of the continents are meant to make a more detailed drawing.
That said, it is possible to put them together.
Africa, Asia and Mexico/South America are all compatible and fit together perfectly if you draw them as instructed on two 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper taped together (11×17). So first draw Asia I and II then add Africa on the west.
Europe is drawn from a slightly more northern perspective to allow for a less distorted view of the northern countries. However, tape a horizontal piece of paper (5.5 x 8) up against the west edge of the Asia I drawing and use the Ural mountains and the European part of Russia.
The USA is the one that is extremely large compared to the rest of the world. It had to be to make all of the smaller states drawable for most students. But you clearly are able to draw it quite small and were very close on the size! Draw the USA on a horizontal 4 x 6 piece of paper and it should fit north of Mexico. It won’t fit perfectly or look exactly right, because it is drawn from a different perspective. If I drew the USA from the same perspective as Africa, Asia and South America/Mexico it would look quite distorted.
Africa, Asia and South America/Mexico are drawn as if a camera was taking a picture over the center of Africa. Europe is drawn as if the camera was over the center of the Europe. The USA is drawn as if the camera was over the center of the USA.
Canada is drawn as if the camera was centered over the middle of . . . yep, you guessed it, Canada. Add Canada to the top of the tiny USA on a 6 x 6 sheet of paper and it should fit, but again, because of the perspective, it won’t fit perfectly or look quite right as you go north. The entire country should be shorter and Greenland should be much closer to Iceland, but essentially it will be the correct size.
Here is approximately what it would look like (only yours would look better because the overlaps would be gone, but I wanted you to see the page sizes):
As you can see Canada and the USA look weird but are approximately the right size. Here is the world with the camera over Africa to compare it with:
Unfortunately Oceania will have to be split into two bits and sort of eyeballed. I have Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica on this map to get you started.
I hope this helps. After Christmas I’ll do a blog about your question on my website. If you sign up for blog alerts you’ll know when it is uploaded.
Thanks again for your question,
In Short, Here’s What You Need
- Asia I & II (11 x 17, i.e. one 8.5 x 11 for each book)
- Africa (11 x 17)
- Mexico, Central & South America (11 x 17)
- Europe (5.5 x 8)
- USA (4 x 6)
- Canada (6 x 6)
- Oceania…you’ll kind of have to wing it!
Leave a Reply