I am excited to announce that you can now find the most complete world map live on MapChart!
Many users, especially with educational background, like teachers, professors or students have asked for the world map to include more options.
Accordingly, this set me in the direction of designing the new Advanced World map page, with the below extra features:
You can turn these on/off and fully customize your map’s appearance. Let’s have a look at the available options one by one:
The main new option is the ability to change your map’s projection:
In cartography, a projection is a way to flatten a globe’s surface (like Earth’s) into a plane (like your screen or paper) in order to make a map. Mapmakers should always consider the purpose of their map when selecting a projection.
If you want to learn more about map projections, I will be writing soon about the problem of selecting the right one, as well as each one’s benefits and weaknesses in a separate post.
There are currently nine (9) of the most popular and useful projections to choose from:
- Winkel Tripel (compromise/used by National Geographic):
- Eckert IV (equal-area/formerly used by National Geographic)
- Miller Cylindrical (compromise cylindrical/similar to Mercator)
- Gall Stereographic (cylindrical/used in various British atlases):
- Robinson (compromise/formerly used by National Geographic and CIA):
- Van der Grinten I (compromise, polyconic projection of the world in a circle/also used by National Geographic):
- Times (compromise, similar to Gall/used in The Times Atlas)
- Mercator (conformal, used in Google maps/infamous for its distortion of areas near the Poles):
- Plate Carrée (equirectangular/common in the past)
I believe that the current choices are more than enough to make your own world map in. By all means, I will try to include a few more projections in the future.
Rivers and Lakes
The map also shows major rivers and lakes with distinct symbology. There is a total of 814 rivers and 336 lakes shown when you turn on the corresponding options.
The orange time zone lines demarcate the various timezones used around the world. You can now easily check which countries or cities are on the same time zone.
Graticules (Grid) and Geographical Lines
The light gray grid overlaid on the World map shows the globe’s graticules. These are lines showing parallels of latitude and meridians of longitude for the earth.
The grid system used on MapChart varies by 10° intervals.
The geographical lines option toggles the below features:
- Tropical circles (Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn)
- Polar circles
- International dateline (demarcates the change of one calendar day to the next)
Finally, you can toggle showing 310 cities in the world.
These were chosen due to their significance (so, most capitals are included) and/or population (the reason why China and India have a lot on the map).
I am pretty sure that this new addition will be of significant use in making thematic maps with the best accuracy.
It can help in teaching or showing useful facts about our world, like:
- Learning about map projections and instantly converting from one projection to another.
- Emphasizing how many rivers are also the natural borders of countries.
- Showing that a lot of major cities are built on, or near, bodies of water.
- Learning about timezones and their uses.
- The usefulness of the grid system (graticules) and the location of the various geographical lines, like the Equator or the Polar circles.
Of course, you can always use it with the traditional MapChart features and create your own world map with custom colors and descriptions.
This has been one of the biggest updates for MapChart so far. A lot of work has gone into making sure it is the most complete world map on the website. As always, any kind of feedback is most welcome!