Geo Quiz: Which Country is Bigger?

Caitlin Dempsey


This quiz challenges you to figure out which country is bigger based on a series  of world maps using the Mercator map projection.  

What is the Mercator Map Projection?

Originally developed in 1569 by Flemish cartographer, Gerardus Mercator, the Mercator map projection is a cylindrical map projection.

A conformal map projection, the Mercator projection preserves angles, making it a useful projection for navigational purposes since it preserves directional bearing.  

The Mercator Map Projection Distorts the Sizes and Shapes of Countries and Continents

The Mercator projection does distort the sizes and shapes of geographic features and this distortion increases the closer the object is to the poles.

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A comparison graphic showing the larger size of Greenland compared to Africa on the left for the Mercator Map Projection and the much smaller size of Greenland compared to Africa for the Equal Earth Map Projection on the right.
The Mercator Map Projection distorts the sizes and shapes of countries and continents. The Equal Earth Map Projection on the right in this graphic shows a truer relative size of the continent of Africa compared to Greenland. Map: Caitlin Dempsey using Natural Earth data.

This means that features closer to the poles appear to be radically larger than they are in real life.  Despite this distortion, the Mercator map projection has become the most used projection, used by such online map applications such as Google Maps.

A common complaint is Mercator makes certain features look disproportionately large.  

For example, Greenland on a Mercator map looks to be almost as big as the continent of Africa.  In reality, the continent of Africa is almost 14 times larger than Greenland in area (30,200,000 km² compared to 2,166,086 km²).

Pick the Larger Country Quiz

Each world map shows two highlighted countries in yellow.

There are ten questions in this quiz.  

It is up to you to figure out which country is the bigger one in terms of geographic area.  To select, check the box next to the country name after each map to select the country that you think is the bigger one.  

All country area statistics are from MapFight.  

All maps were created in QGIS using Natural Earth data.

Take the “Which Country is Bigger?” Quiz

After selecting your answer, hit the submit button. You can review how many you got right by clicking on the “View Score” button after you take the quiz.

More Geography Quizzes

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.