Maps are cool, huh. They let you go anywhere without leaving your living room.

For Christmas I got two map related presents. The first is a poster of a Peters projection of the world map. Simply put this projection gives a closer representation of the actual size of an area, so for example you see just how large Africa really is. I’ve put it on the wall in my office and since it’s been up I’ve spent a chunk of time every day getting lost in it. I’ve learnt a lot. For example, did you know that Lesotho is completely surrounded by South Africa? Or that Hawaii is just one of the Hawaiian islands?

True size of Africa

I also got a book called Maps: their untold stories which includes 100 maps from the collection at the National Archives. It’s a fascinating look at how maps are drawn, are historical artefacts, art and most intriguingly how they tell stories.

With these presents I’ve rediscovered my love of maps. It’s prompted me to revisit another book of maps I have – The Atlas of the Real World. This presents a series of world maps with areas resized to reflect data on specific topics, eg population, income or Internet users. You can find some of the variations on Worldmapper.