Different maps can tell us unique facts about the world — whether it be about politics, culture, the economy, or maybe just for the sake of geography. So, without further adieu, feast your eyes on the following maps that will provide you with a fresh perspective on various aspects of the world we live in.
The Natural World
It’s common knowledge that the world is made up of various ecosystems and that the general climate varies drastically depending on where you are in the world. Of course, climate change is self-explanatory, and we are seeing those changes happen before our very eyes.
But for all intents and purposes, this beautiful map made from natural materials is a pretty accurate representation of the way the planet looks from a bird's eye view. Of course, the grass symbolizes areas where there is still mass forestation, the yellower areas are where you might find yourself lost in a desert, and the whiter patches are supposed to represent the coldest parts of the world. Pretty neat!
Chile Is Longer than Most of Europe
Comparing some countries in length to entire continents is pretty remarkable – especially when some can be actually longer. Take Chile, for example. This South American country is unique in appearance as it is narrow in width but extremely long, stretching about 2653 miles from its northernmost point to its southernmost.
This map clearly chose to transport the outline of Chile across the Atlantic to compare it to the entirety of mainland Europe. In theory, it’s quicker to get from Portugal to Russia than it is to get from one end of Chile to the other. It’s a pretty trivial fact, but still – pretty interesting.
Antarctica – The Center of the Universe?
Most people with even the smallest interest in geography probably know that Antarctica is the southernmost location in the world. The very center of this extremely cold region is where the south pole stems from. However, usually, when we see Antarctica on traditional world maps, we see it as a long stretch of icy terrain.
But this map shows the world in a completely different light. It posits Antarctica at the center of the world, with every other continent surrounding it. One thing we do notice is that this map makes it even clearer just how close it is to the bottom of South America.
Paid Maternity Leave – For Americans? No Chance
This might come as a shock to mothers all around the world. But in America? There is no obligation for employers to pay their workers for maternity leave. It’s a pretty remarkable statistic.
In fact, according to this map, the only other countries in the world where women don’t get paid for maternity leave are Suriname and Papua New Guinea (this map is a little out of date, as the former introduced 16 weeks of paternity leave). So basically, if you want to have the best maternity leave arrangements – you should consider relocating to either Canada, Europe, India, Central Asia, or Chile.
The Dutch Love Their Bikes
While it might be a bit of a stereotype – there is plenty of truth to the following statement – the people of the Netherlands absolutely love riding bikes. This European country is extremely conscious of the environment.
Combine that with the Dutch people’s longstanding cultural practice of bike riding, and you get a country that has one of the highest concentrations of bicycle lanes on the planet. If you ever set foot in Amsterdam, you will notice that there are bikes coming at you from practically every direction. This is because there are so many bike lanes wherever you look.
Americans Frickin’ Love Labradors
Apparently, it is no secret that dogs are man’s best friends. Pretty much universally, people love having a canine companion – and this certainly applies in the United States of America. Across pretty much all states, people own dogs. But which breeds are the most popular in the country? This map actually breaks down which ones are the most beloved, state by state.
And as you can see, Labradors are by far the most popular, taking the crown in nearly every single state. Beagles and German Shepherds also get some love. It’s funny that a dog named after a Canadian province is basically the quintessential American hound.
Europe Just Doesn’t Believe Anymore
There was a time when most people on the planet had no doubts in their minds about God’s existence. But as time has gone on, the world has become a much more divisive place when it comes to religion. As you can see here, a sizeable chunk of US citizens are “absolutely certain” that God exists.
But when you look over at the map of Europe, the percentage of believers is extremely low in comparison. Sure, the Balkan nations are more certain than others. But it seems that Europeans are generally more skeptical about the existence of God than Americans are.
Europe – Before It United
These days, we are very familiar with concepts such as the European Union. But back in the day, this continent was much more divided. And we’re not even necessarily talking from a political point of view. Geographically speaking, the countries of Europe looked a whole lot different.
Borders were very different, and more importantly, a lot of the European countries we are familiar with today were broken up into smaller regions and administrations. Basically, Europe looked more like a puzzle full of random pieces than an actual continent. As you can see, Austria and Poland were still countries back then. But the rest looked very different.
Half of Australia’s Population – In Red
It is no secret that Australia, by land, is one of the biggest countries in the world. And a population of close to 27 million (as of 2023) sounds like a lot. But when you compare that to the UK’s population (about 68 million), it’s actually not that many people. Especially when you consider the amount of land the people of Australia have at their disposal.
In fact, this map shows that about half the population of the “Down Under” country is tightly squeezed into some of the country's main cities. These are Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth. The other half of the population has most of Australia to themselves. We think they got the better end of the deal.
Europe’s Many Kid-Friendly Cursewords
The last thing any parent wants is for their child to start shouting all kinds of profanities at the dinner table. So when we can, we provide them with healthy substitutes that they can use instead. In this map, we can see the cute kid-friendly curse words that Europeans have devised over the years for their offspring to be able to say.
Apparently, in the Netherlands, it’s normal to hear a child shout out “chips!” And in Lithuania, it’s not the strangest thing in the world to hear a child yell, “Go scratch the armpits of an earthworm” in their mother tongue. We’re sure it sounds more offensive in Lithuanian.
The Yuxi Circle
With the world population getting closer and closer to the 8 billion mark every day, it’s amazing to think that about half of that is limited to just two countries – India and China. On this map, a region of the world has been circled – identified as the Yuxi Circle.
Also known as the Valeriepieris circle, this region includes the two aforementioned countries, as well as some smaller neighboring countries and regions. As you can see though, there are more than 4 billion people living in this part of the world. And yet, some parts of the circle are extremely uninhabited, such as the Pacific Ocean, the Gobi Desert, and the Himalayas.
Me Habla Ingles Tambien
Americans are notorious for not being able to learn languages beyond their native tongue – it’s just a known fact. But when it comes to the people of Europe, it really just depends on which country you hail from. Some European countries are much better at encouraging their citizens to learn more than one language than others.
Similar to their American friends, the people of the United Kingdom also have a tough time branching out to other languages. On the other hand, most of the people who live in Sweden are at least bilingual – with many Swedes being practically fluent in English.
Google Is Taking Over the World
It doesn’t really matter which browser you use – the reality is that the internet is pretty much available wherever you are in the world. With that said, there was a time when internet browsers had varying levels of popularity, from one country to the next. For example, in 2012, the most popular browser in the US was Internet Explorer, while the most popular one in Russia was Google Chrome.
As you can see though, Google Chrome really changed the game over the last decade, with most people around the world choosing to go for this specific browser. In fact, the only country in which Chrome isn’t the most popular browser is Equatorial Guinea. The people there prefer Microsoft Edge.
Reimagining New Amsterdam
When people think of New York – they think of the hustle and bustle, the iconic skyline, and the incredible structures like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. But there was a time when New York looked very different.
Back in the day, the city wasn’t even called New York – it was known as New Amsterdam. One person really wanted to have a better understanding of what the young city would have looked like back in the 1600s. So, they took an old map of New Amsterdam and created a 3D model based on it. The end results were pretty extraordinary.
Knock and Run? You’ll Get Locked Up in the UK
There are plenty of laws out there that seem strange and out of date when you consider the age that we live in. And laws can be quite arbitrary when it comes to what legalities are in place in some countries and not in others. But this might be one of the most bizarre laws we have ever seen.
What makes it even more peculiar is that out of all the countries in Europe, it is only enforced in the United Kingdom. Apparently, it is illegal in this country to knock on someone’s door and then run away. If you did this in, let’s say, Spain? You’ll be fine. But on the streets of London, you’ll get arrested if you get caught doing a knock-and-run.
Population Density in Africa
When we’re talking about population density, we are not strictly referring to the number of people in a country – we are referring to how heavily concentrated a place is with human beings – normally per square meter. Basically, the higher the population and the smaller the land that they inhabit, the higher the population density.
In this map, we see the population density across the entire content of Africa. So in West Africa, the nations surrounding Lake Victoria, and the Nile, population densities are extremely high. But in the Sahara, there is hardly anyone living there. Therefore, the population density in this large desert is extremely low.
Dinner Time by European Country
Truth be told – there is no universal time to eat dinner. Some would just say that it’s whenever you end up having your third meal of the day – which, for all intents and purposes, could be before midday. But most people would agree that dinner should fall somewhere between 6 and 9 pm. Anything earlier or later is probably not dinner.
But in Europe, there are some countries where it is perfectly normal to start dinner very late. Spain is a classic example. This might have something to do with the fact that it stays warmer until later, and so people are more inclined to stay out, and therefore, eat out. In Scandinavia though, where the sun sets very early, dinner starts earlier too.
Road Deaths by Continent
There is no denying that roads can be very dangerous, depending on the way one drives or the kind of road one’s driving on. But in the United States of America, there is a shockingly high number of road deaths throughout the entire country. Casualties include those who are behind the wheel and those who are not.
But when you look at other continents, most notably Europe, the number of road deaths is considerably lower. In this map, we see that countries such as Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden have less than 40 deaths per million. Every single American state has more road deaths than that.
Cities by Latitude
It’s amazing to think about which cities around the world share the same latitude as others. By that, we mean where cities are located on the world map horizontally. Obviously, we know that the capital of Ecuador – Quito – is pretty much on the equator.
But what if we told you that New York City was at a lower latitude than Rome? This map pinpoints some of the world’s cities onto Europe, giving you an idea of where they are positioned latitudinally compared to Europe’s biggest cities. It’s also strange to think that Washington DC is at a lower latitude than Barcelona. And yet, it’s true.
The River Niger’s Interesting Journey
For those that are unfamiliar, the River Niger is the third longest river in all of Africa. But with that said, it arguably has the most interesting route out of all of them. As you can see in this map, the river starts off in southern Guinea.
From there, it travels up through the country of Mali into Timbuktu, before meandering back south into a country that shares its name – Niger. But that’s not all. The river streams along the northern border of Benin, through the large country of Nigeria before finally branching off into various streams into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Map of Billionaires
It seems that as the years progress – the gap between the rich and the poor gets wider and wider. But that doesn’t mean that the number of billionaires in the world is shrinking. On the contrary, it is only rising. Based on this map, there is a pretty interesting distribution of billionaires throughout the world.
At number one, the US has the most billionaires – 614, according to this map. China has the second-highest number of billionaires with 388 and Germany comes in at number three. And then there is Elon Musk, who is technically from South Africa. Despite this, the southernmost country in Africa only has four billionaires.
Hospitality by Country
There seems to be an interesting pattern in Europe when it comes to how welcoming people are. As you can see, in the southernmost countries that are closest to the Mediterranean Sea, people “almost always” offer to give their guests food, while throughout most of mainland Europe, hosts will usually offer.
Then, when you get to the northern European countries such as Germany, France, and England, people are unlikely to offer. And if you find yourself in Scandinavia anytime soon, don’t expect your hosts to feed you at all. An interesting anomaly though can be seen in the British Isles. In Scotland and Ireland, there is actually a good chance that your hosts will offer to feed you.
Different Country, Different Name
A lot of the names on this map shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. It makes perfect sense that the most common names in the British countries are Smith, Jones, Murphy, and Wilson. The same goes for Germany and Switzerland, where Muller is the most popular family name.
But if we are going to be perfectly honest, we have not met that many Beqiris in our lives. Maybe that’s got more to do with the fact that we haven’t met that many Albanians either. Either way, this map does paint a better picture of what kinds of names to expect to hear in each country.
Average Male Heights in Europe
You would think that the average male height would be pretty consistent throughout the world. But the truth is that it can vary quite drastically from one place to the next. That kind of diversity can also be seen in Europe.
While most countries have an average male height in the 177/178 bracket, there are some that are shorter or taller than that average. The shorter men of Europe can generally be found in Portugal and Turkey – standing at about 174 cm. And the taller guys tend to hail from countries such as The Netherlands and (quite randomly) Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Gasoline Prices Around the World
As gasoline is a non-renewable energy resource, it makes sense that the price of this valuable commodity only rises as there becomes less and less of it. And yet, the prices of gasoline vary quite a lot from one country to another.
Furthermore, depending on the standard of living in any given country and the cost of living, gasoline prices can actually comprise of a high proportion of one’s net salary. In the US, a full tank of gasoline will only be about 1.55% of the average monthly net salary. In Brazil though, citizens will expect to pay close to a fifth of their salary just for one full tank.
Nearly Everyone Can Sunbathe at the Same Time!
No matter where you are in the world, you are currently living at a time that no one else in the world is living in. Does that make sense? For example, if it is currently 4 a.m. in Australia, there is no chance that it is 4 a.m. anywhere else in the world.
The only other places where it would be the same time are the countries that share the same time zone. But when it comes to sunlight, there are various time zones that could be experiencing the rays of the sun at any given time. As this map demonstrates, there is a specific day every year when nearly the entire world population can go out and sunbathe.
The Longest Continuous Walk
You might have thought to yourself at least once in your life, “How far could I actually walk in one sitting?” Well, it turns out that the longest continuous walk is, by all accounts, extremely long. Basically, you would start off in Cape Town, all the way down in South Africa.
You would walk up through the African continent, eventually passing through the Levant and into the Caucasus Mountains. From here you would enter Siberia and walk until you eventually get to the northeast Russian coastal town of Magadan. In total, you would have walked about 13,900 miles, and it would take just over 187 days. Wow!
Countries That Have Had Female Leaders
They say that if the world was run by women, there would never be another war. And it seems like many nations are living by this phrase, as more and more women are becoming world leaders around the world. When we think of female world leaders, we can’t help but think of the likes of Golda Meir, who bravely led Israel during moments of serious adversity.
We think of the polarizing figure of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who led Argentina during a lot of the early 21st Century. There’s also the fantastic Jacinda Ardern, who was the beloved prime minister of New Zealand before resigning in 2023.
You Can Fit a Lot of the World in Australia
Here is a map that clearly shows the enormity of the country of Australia. This humungous island “Down Under” is so big that geographically speaking, it is big enough to contain close to 30 other countries from around the world.
You could actually fit a large chunk of Europe into Aussie, including France, Germany, Spain, the UK, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, and many others. You could just drop South Africa bang into the middle of the country and there would be plenty of space around it. Heck, even the island of Tasmania is nearly as big as the state of Ohio.
All Roads Lead to Rome, Literally
There is a classic saying that “All roads lead to Rome.” And they really weren’t lying when they first came up with the catchphrase. Rome was, in many ways, the center of civilization during its heyday.
As a result, it was used as a location for trade, with people flocking to what is now the capital of Italy from all over the world to exchange goods and pass through. As you can see here, there are roads leading to Rome from virtually every direction. It almost looks like the central nervous system of a body, with Rome being the heart of it.
La Plata – The Square City
One of the most beautiful bird’s eye views of a city in the world has to be the Argentinian city of La Plata. Urban planner Pedro Benoit was tasked with designing the provincial capital. He ended up coming up with the idea of a square-shaped city, with a central park and some diagonal avenues coming from each corner.
There were also shorter diagonal streets, but the most important goal was to ensure that the city was completely perpendicular in every significant way. As you can see, the city is broken down into 36 square blocks, with a park and a square on each corner.
The World if Sea Levels Rise by 1000 Meters
Global warming and climate change are serious issues that our world is currently facing. As the world gets warmer, the polar ice caps are melting at alarming speeds, meaning that sea levels are also starting to rise. This map presents the daunting prospect of the world if sea levels were to rise by 1000 meters.
As you can see, this kind of event would decimate large parts of the world’s main continents, including North America, South America, Europe, and Africa. For the most part, it seems that most of China would remain standing. But also, India is pretty much nowhere to be seen.
The Gap in US Wealth
It is no secret that there is a huge disparity between the rich and the poor in the US. So, in order to hit that point home, this artist put together a map of the good ol’ US of A. They show how much land the richest people in the country would be able to afford, how much the poorest could afford, and every possibility in between.
It’s amazing to think that a whopping 40% of the population owns the equivalent of that tiny pink dot at the bottom of Texas. It clearly shows how uneven money is distributed among American citizens. But that’s capitalism for you, and it comes at a heavy price for many.
Seeing Mountains on a Map
Topographic maps are fascinating because they paint a picture of where the lower lands are located in proximity to the higher lands (such as mountains and hills). Here are two fascinating examples of this. The left map shows Germany.
In the top half of this European country, the surface is relatively flat, suggesting that there is plenty of countryside and low-level terrain. All that while While on the right half of the country, there are clearly a lot of mountains and high-level surfaces. Then if you feast your eyes on the New Zealand map, you’ll see that the majority of the country is dominated by mountains.
Elon Musk Is Richer Than These Countries
When one individual is richer than an entire country, you know that something is seriously wrong with the world. And yet here we are. We have a businessman in Elon Musk with so much money to his name that his net worth is even greater than many countries’ GDPs.
He is richer than most countries in Africa (his home nation of South Africa a noteworthy exception here), some countries in South America, some countries in Asia, most of the Balkan and Baltic nations, and even countries such as Iceland, Uruguay, Afghanistan, and Mongolia. Seriously Elon, share some of those dollars with the rest of us!
Animals Around the World
When you consider the fact that humans look very different depending on where they live or where they come from, it makes perfect sense that certain animals' origins can be traced to specific parts of the world. This map gives us a better idea of where some of the most iconic members of the animal kingdom come from.
Of course, it’s common knowledge that the koala and the kangaroo are native to Australia. But to see the global distribution of animals is pretty beautiful. You’ve got the elephants, hippos, lions, gorillas, and giraffes of Africa. And then there are the tigers and pandas of Asia.
Passenger Railway Networks Around the World
As time goes on, people need more and more ways to transport from one place to another. The modes of transport normally correspond with the size and demands of a region. For example, due to its relatively open borders – Europe has an extremely detailed and intricate passenger railway system.
But then there’s somewhere like North America, which is much bigger and people rely more on air travel to get around the country. It makes sense then that the railway system would look simpler in comparison. And then there is Australia, which apparently only has passenger trains on the east side of the country.
The Population of New York – Visualized
As mentioned in this article, population density is all about the number of people against the size of the area they are located in. So, based on this map, we can understand that New York City has an extremely high population density. In just 469 square miles, there are approximately 8.42 million people.
But when you consider that the same number of people live in a total area of close 646 thousand square miles in the northwest of America, it just goes to show how unevenly populated the country actually is. The same applies to LA. You could fit the entire 10.04 million-strong population of the home Hollywood into a 471,941 square-mile radius in the center of America.
Some Locations Are “Sadder” Than Others
For some reason – some of the names of locations around the world will leave travelers scratching their heads. Take this island in New Zealand, for example. There is an island known as Disappointment Island. It turns out that the reason it was called this peculiar name, to begin with, was because the first explorers who found the island were disappointed by how difficult it was to navigate the island and make use of its resources.
There are other strange locations around the world with unfortunate names. These include the “End of the Road to Nowhere” in Canada, “Lonesome Road,” which can be found in the US, and “Sadness Street,” which is located in Tunisia, of all places.
The Once United Central Pangean Mountains
There are many majestic and wonderful mountain ranges around the world that you should at least feast your eyes on at some point in your life. These include the Caledonian Mountains, the Appalachians, and the Atlas Mountains. These are just a handful of examples.
And do you know what they all have in common? That’s right folks – they were actually all once part of the same mountain range. They used to be the Central Pangean Mountains. This was of course a long time ago, when the major continents were still connected and before they started to break apart over a long period of time.
A Shark Journey in the Shape of a Shark
Could it be that some animals want to tell a story or create a piece of art based on the routes they take? In 2021, a team of researchers planted a GPS device on a shark to see what kind of route it would take in the North Atlantic Ocean before returning to the location it departed from.
The team was beyond words when they discovered the end results. It turns out that the shark traveled in a movement that, when the location points were connected by lines, created a basic shape of a shark. Is that a coincidence or was it intentional? Whatever the case may be, it makes for a pretty stunning map.
An Arctic Fox’s Remarkable Journey
Many might just assume that land animals stick to their local environment in search of food and shelter. But that’s not always the case. Take this Arctic fox, for example. Based on the results of this map, this vulpine creature ended up traveling from Norway, crossing miles and miles of icy surfaces, through the freezing nation of Greenland, all the way to Ellesmere Island in the north of Canada.
This means that the fox covered thousands of miles to get to his eventual destination. Apparently, this is how arctic foxes ended up in Iceland – becoming the only terrestrial animal to form a population there without the help of humans.
Africa Is So Big
To understand just how big Africa actually is, the following map will give you just a bit of an indication. Known as the cradle of civilization, Africa is so grand in landmass that it could actually fit each of the biggest countries in the world. India can easily fit inside Africa, as well as the likes of Brazil, China, and the USA (Alaska included).
And let’s not forget about Russia. Despite being the longest country in the world – if you tilt the former Soviet country by 90 degrees, it would also fit in Africa. Heck, even the entirety of Europe could fit if you position it in the center of the continent. Africa is 11.73 million square meters in total land area. Absolutely staggering.
The Fortress of 16th Century Nicosia
In this map, which was created back in the 16th century, we can see the capital of the island of Cyprus. In this remarkable design, we can see what is known as a Trace Italienne. Also known as a bastion fort, this kind of fortification was built in order to protect a city from cannon fire.
There were quite a few examples of this kind of fortress made around Europe, with a couple still standing until the present day. In Nicosia, the fortified walls are actually part of a disputed international border between present-day Cyprus and Northern Cyprus, an independent country that is home to the Turkish Cypriots.
Stick a Pin in It
It’s not that normal for a museum exhibition to include artworks or pieces that the visitor can actually interact with. In this case, we are looking at the “where are you from” map, which can be located in the Aurora Museum in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland.
Tourists are allowed, even encouraged, to take a pin and plant it on the location of the world map where they came from. As you can see, there are a lot of pins in North America, Mexico, Europe, and China. There aren’t so many though in the northern parts of Canada, or large parts of Africa.
A Blind-Friendly Globe
For those who are visually impaired or blind, it is essential to have aids for whatever activity they wish to pursue. Of course, those who can not see still have the opportunity to read by learning Braille. As you can see here, a globe has been invented that is specifically designed for members of the blind community.
With this ingenious creation, users are able to locate countries and major cities with dots that are located around the world. They are also able to track the latitude or longitude of any location by running their fingers along the lines on the map. Also worth mentioning is that the land areas also stand out physically from the sea.
This might be the most speculative image in the entire article – so bear with us as we break this down. Basically, the top image was taken by the James Webb space telescope. It shows the Carina Nebula, a large area of dark and bright nebulosity located in the Milky Way. Amazingly though, the outline of this nebula is virtually identical to the eastern coast of Algeria.
Does this constellation and this African country have anything else in common? Probably not. Maybe there is a nebula outline that matches every single coastline on planet Earth. Now that would be a remarkable fact – if it was true.
Venice, Completely Hand Drawn
There are some maps of cities that just look more attractive than others. One city that really is a sight for sore eyes, both along its stunning canals and from a bird’s eye view, is Venice. This majestic city is slowly sinking due to the rise in sea levels and the fact that way too many tourists are visiting every year.
So if you can see Venice once in your lifetime, we recommend trying to go during quieter times of the year. As for this image, someone actually hand-drew a map of the Italian city, and the end results are absolutely stunning.
The Queue to the Queen
On September 8th, 2022, Queen Elizabeth II passed away after reigning as the Queen of England for more than 70 years. While she lay in state at Westminster Hall in London, England, a line (known in England as a queue) for mourners started to form.
At its peak, the queue was a remarkable 10 miles long, with people waiting all along the River Thames, just so they could walk passed the Queen’s coffin to pay their respects. This map shows the queue in all of its glory. It just goes to show how much of an impact the Queen had on so many people in the UK and beyond.
European Street Food
When one is traveling around Europe and operating on a specific budget, it is important to know what local street foods are worth trying out. That way, you can have a quick bite to eat, before resuming your sightseeing. On this map, we can see all of the wonderful street delicacies in Europe, based on the country they originate from.
Maybe stop and have a bifana if you are ever in Portugal. Or why not eat some gyros if you are doing some sightseeing while in Athens? Of course, Berlin is home to the iconic currywurst. And we can’t forget about good old fish and chips, which are synonymous with England. We don’t think you need a map for that one though.