Peters Projection Map: Everything Your Ever Wanted To Know

The Peters projection map is one of the more famous projections. We answer the most common questions about the Gall-Peters projection.

The Gall-Peters projection map, also known as the Peters map, is a cylindrical projection of the world. It offers a representation of the nations in their true proportion to one another, which provides a helpful corrective to the distortions of traditional maps for countries to fit on a flat surface. In this map, the regions near the equator are stretched out, and the polar regions are compressed, leading to a unique and visually striking representation of the world.

One of the most notable features of the Gall-Peters projection style is that it emphasizes the southern hemisphere, which needs to be addressed in traditional maps. The Gall-Peters map shows countries such as Australia and Africa in their actual size, which helps to challenge the notion of a "north-centric" worldview. The map also encourages us to think about the global distribution of wealth, resources, and political power, by accurately representing the size and significance of countries in a new light.

If you've ever gazed at projections like the Robinson projection and felt frustrated by how countries are stretched or squished to fit on a flat surface, then the Gall-Peters projection is the map for you. The Gall-Peters projection is a powerful map type that fosters a greater understanding of our world and a challenge to traditional maps that often perpetuate cultural and geographical biases. Whether you're a student, a teacher, or a curious map enthusiast, the Gall-Peters projection will inspire a new appreciation for our planet's incredible diversity and complexity.

How The Peters World Map Impacted Cartography

In 1855, clergyman James Gall unveiled the Gall-Peters projection at the British Association for the Advancement of Science's meeting in Glasgow, initially naming it the "orthographic." He formally published his findings in 1885 in the Scottish Geographical Magazine. Years later, German historian Arno Peters called a press conference to announce his spin on the projection. Peters presented the "Peters world map" in 1973. It wasn't until 1986 when Arthur H. Robinson published a pamphlet with the American Cartographic Association, that the name "Gall-Peters projection" was coined. Throughout the years, the map has been referred to by various names, including "Gall orthographic" and "Gall's orthographic." But today, most Peters supporters refer to it as the "Peters projection." Nevertheless, in recent years, the name "Gall-Peters" has become the more commonly used moniker for this iconic map.

The Gall-Peters map shook the status quo of the world of cartography with its bold vision of a more equitable representation of the planet. Born out of a desire to challenge the distorted shape of the Earth perpetuated by the dominant Mercator map, Arno Peters sought to create a new map superior in its portrayal of proportions and sizes of the countries.

With the Gall-Peters projection, Peters aimed to rectify this issue through an equal-area projection of countries. This new map represented a revolutionary shift in cartography and sparked a heated debate in the mapping community. Some lauded it as a more accurate representation of the world, while others criticized its lack of conformity to traditional map-making practices.

Today, the Gall-Peters Projection map's importance goes far beyond questions of cartographic accuracy. It stands as a symbol of the power of representation and the importance of considering the cultural and political implications of how we depict the world. Its impact continues to be felt, inspiring new generations to think differently about how they perceive and understand our planet. The Gall-Peters Projection map is a daring work of the German historian Arno Peters, a bold statement of purpose, and a testament to the enduring power of maps to shape our understanding of the world.

Pros And Cons Of The Peters Projection Map

Picture a map of the world. What do you see? Latitude and longitude lines? Continents, oceans, and countries? But what if that map does not accurately represent our world? The Peters Projection is a map that does just that - it challenges our view of the world. Some of the benefits of using this projection include the following:


  1. Area accuracies: The Peters Projection is a representation of the world that prioritizes the accuracy of land masses' areas over their shapes. This makes the continents appear in their relative size, which is often distorted in traditional map projections. 
  2. Perception of equality: It also promotes equal area representation of different regions, giving a voice to third world countries and other marginalized areas.
  3. Decolonization of a variety of maps: Peters' projection map was designed to challenge the Eurocentric view of the world often portrayed in traditional map projections, which tends to diminish the importance of regions other than Europe and North America.

However, the Peters Projection also has some limitations:


  1. Distorted Shapes: While it preserves the area of land masses, it still does not preserve the shapes of countries, making it challenging to use for navigational purposes. It also has some distortion near the poles. 
  2. Limited Use: Peters Projection needs to be better suited for large-scale maps, making it less useful for many practical applications.
  3. Controversy: While the intent behind Peters' Projection was to challenge traditional Eurocentric views, it has also been criticized as a political statement, making it vulnerable to falling into disuse as a tool for education and mapping.

Despite its flaws, the Peters Projection remains a valuable tool for changing how we see the world. It offers a new perspective that breaks away from the Eurocentric view that has dominated maps for centuries. By representing the regions' land area accurately, it challenges our traditional beliefs and makes us likely to see the world in a new light.

So, the next time you look at a world reference map, think about the Peters Projection and what it represents - a world where all regions are given equal importance and representation.

Peters Map Vs. Mercator Map Projection

The Peters projections and Mercator projections have been the subject of much debate among geographers and cartographers for decades. The Peters projection is known for its area accuracy - no countries incorrectly in proportion to one another. On the other hand, the Mercator projection map by Gerardus Mercator has been around since it was developed in 1569, preserving angles and shapes with grace and ease. But, it has its flaws. It created a skewed world perspective by exaggerating the size of high latitude countries. For example, Greenland was represented as the same size as Africa when it was not. 

The Mercator projection, however, has the advantage of preserving angles and shapes, making it useful in the 16th century for navigational use and presenting directional information. This projection is still widely used in classrooms, on websites, and many wall maps. However, it's noteworthy that the Peters projection map is the map that UNESCO promotes. 

In 1989, seven North American geographical powerhouses banded together to give the boot to all rectangle-shaped world maps by adopting a resolution, including the Mercator and Gall-Peters projections.

The controversies surrounding these two projections highlight cartographers' difficult balancing act when creating maps. While it is essential to represent the size of countries accurately, it is also necessary to consider the intended use of the map and the preservation of angles and shapes. Ultimately, the choice between the Mercator and Peters projections depends on the specific needs of the user and the information they want to convey.

Check out alternative projections, such as the Van der Grinten, Eckert IV, and Winkel Tripel projections. 

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