Maps and Infographics That Accurately Depict the World

For years, mapmakers would visit faraway places around the world to be able to give their maps more accuracy. Computers and specialized programs like a Geographic Information Mapping System currently develops the maps that you likely rely on daily without a second thought.

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Besides just searching for the quickest route to work or the closest Starbucks location, maps help us to understand the world, how people are dispersed, and even animal migration patterns. If you’ve ever been curious about what the world is like from different perspectives, then these fascinating maps and infographics are just what you need.

The True Size of Greenland

Maps of the world tend to deceive viewers. Not by making up fake countries or anything like that, but some of the sizing choices aren’t as accurate as they could be. They make several islands or continents appear small, while others can look huge.

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Greenland always looks oversized when it’s sitting in the Northern Hemisphere. However, when it is viewed directly next to South America, it is obvious that South America is much larger by a notable amount. It turns out that the entire continent of South America is approximately 8.2 times larger than the country of Greenland.

Where Most Americans Actually Live in the United States

The United States is ranked as the third most populated country in the entire world. It has a population size of a little more than 300 million people. Some might assume that Americans would be evenly spread out between the States, but that isn’t the reality.

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The red on this map is the high concentration population spots. You’ll notice that a majority of them are on the East and West coasts. The Midwest is the perfect place for agriculture and leads a quieter life and less of a destination to people looking to relocate.

Texas Isn’t Bigger Than Everything

Perhaps you’re familiar with the saying, “Everything is bigger in Texas.” This rings true for items like belt buckles, vehicles, and barbeques. But, when it comes to the actual land size of Texas compared to other places like the continent of Africa, it’s obvious who wins.

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Texas is about the same size as an African country, but it doesn’t stand a chance against the entire continent. The continent itself is 45 times larger than the state of Texas. On most maps, the continent of Africa is not accurately drawn to scale, which is why people think that it’s so small.

Best American Areas to Stargaze

Looking up to the sky, seeing the Milky Way, and attempting to find star constellations is a wonderful activity to do at night. People living in bigger cities like Los Angeles and New York City have a much tougher time being able to see the stars.

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For those who love to go out and stare at the stars, the States in the middle of the country are the ones with the least amount of air and light pollution. If you find yourself on one of the coasts, you may have a more difficult time spotting the stars.

The Middle States of America

This United States map seems different than most we learn about in high school since it appears to be based off of county rather than the states themselves. To fully appreciate what this map is trying to show us, we need to learn what the red and orange colors mean.

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The population size in orange equals out to the population size in red. So almost all of middle America is home to the same amount of people who live on either coast. If you’re interested in buying some land and owning a ranch, the Midwest is waiting for you.

Zones of Air Traffic Control

There are thousands of airports all over the continental United States. Rather than each of these airports having unique areas to call their own, they each belong to zones that abide by a specific set of borders. There are only 21 total zones catering to all of the airports within them.

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Rather than being named after the states which they cover, they are named after the major city that falls within the area. Within the 21 zones, each individual airport is in charge of the airspace above it. That airspace has an area of about 78.5 miles.

Wide Variety of Land Uses

The United States is lucky to have a wide variety of biomes and ecosystems that allow for varied types of land uses and industries. Each section of the country has a specified area for sectors like defense, forestry, and agriculture, to name a few of them.

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If you look at the map closely, you can see the precise places where florists get their flowers from and where biodiesel is allocated to be produced. A majority of the country’s land is dedicated to farming and agriculture. The coasts are home to heavier industries, like railroads and timberlands.

The Largest Empire by Landmass

It is the oldest story told multiple times throughout history: the rise and fall of powerful empires. The Mongolian Empire was no different. In 1279, the Mongolian Empire was the largest empire by continuous landmass that the planet had ever seen, and it continues to hold that title today.

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You might be doubting this title when thinking about massive empires like the Greek and Roman ones. Though these other empires conquered more, they also spread themselves out and were never one united landmass like the Mongolian Empire. Genghis Khan was the brains behind most of this empire.

Comparing Sizes of New Zealand and the United States

By this point in our lives and after middle school geography class, we all know that the United States of America is a large country that makes smaller countries look even tinier. New Zealand, found next to Australia, has been placed over the USA to point out the size difference between the two countries.

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New Zealand, the country that served as the memorable landscapes in The Lord of the Rings franchise, sits comfortably in the Midwest region of the United States. It turns out that it’s about 2.73% smaller, which makes it similar in size to the United Kingdom.

The Imperial System vs. The Metric System

There are two main systems of measurement used around the world: the metric system and the imperial system. An overwhelming majority of countries use the metric system, while some notable exceptions use measurements of miles, feet, ounces, and inches.

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The United States is one of those countries that use the imperial system. What’s fascinating is that the British are the ones who introduced the imperial system, and it continues to be a lingering reminder from the colonial period. Myanmar, in Southeast Asia, and Liberia, in Western Africa, are the only remaining countries that continue to use it.

The American Timber Industry

Forestry is a large industry, and in order to keep it sustainable, the trees that are cut must be replaced. The United States has nearly 10% of the planet’s forests. To have that much forestry landmass makes the USA a sizable contributor of timber in the global market.

Source: Wikimedia

Forestry is a flourishing industry, and despite heavy logging contributing to the decline of forests, tree-planting programs have been able to counter this decline. City mayors and local bodies of government consistently come up with tree-planting programs, which are maintaining America’s forests.

Railroads with No Destination

Riding the train, and watching the landscape go by, is one of the most enjoyable modes of transportation available to us. During the Industrial Revolution in the United States, companies started to build railroads with the goal of every town and city being connected and accessible.

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However, this dream only lasted until 1893, when construction was halted. It was called ‘the Panic,’ and it was a period of economic turmoil which saw countless families and businesses go bankrupt. Because of this, there are railways all over the United States with no end destination.

Best Places to Find Flamingoes

Bright pink flamingoes predominantly live in the wild, but only in very particular regions along various coastlines around the world. Flamingoes don’t like cold climates, which means they end up migrating to sunnier and warmer shores in the Southern Hemisphere.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The pink areas shown on this map highlight the areas that flamingoes tend to migrate to when it becomes cold. It looks like flamingoes like spending time in Africa, South America, and parts of Asia. Next time you spot a flamingo standing on one leg, think about how far they flew to arrive there.

The Infamous Golden State

The state of California might be one of the most known parts of the United States. California, infamous for its size, celebrities, and warm beaches, could be its own country solely based on its size. The state hosts a population of more than 39 million, more than Canada’s total population.

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The population is large, but California is larger than Italy by around 25%, to put it into additional perspective. Italy does win when it comes to population size, though, as it has upwards of 60 million citizens living within the country.

Miles and Miles of Highways

Highways became the modern railroads for the United States. The United States Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is the bureaucratic body responsible for broadening the already remarkable amount of miles of highway that exist today. Nowadays, there are 157,724 miles of highway going throughout the continental United States of America.

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These highways go between every county, state, and town to one another and need a good amount of maintenance. Strangely enough, maintenance is not through the federal level but is instead under the state authorities’ power. That’s the reason that some highways are better cared for than others.

Comparing the United States and Australia

Australia is both a country and a continent, which makes it an incredible piece of land. This island nation, located in the Pacific Ocean, houses the biggest coral reef in the world and many of the most poisonous spiders and plants in the world. When it comes to size, it’s a close race with the United States.

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The United States is about 27% larger than Australia, which is shown on this map. It was a slightly smaller country which fits its much smaller population. The United States requires all the space it has to have room for its growing population.

LA County Is Filled to the Brim

With such a massive population, many of the counties in the United States are filled to the brim with people. Los Angeles County, located in the state of California, has a population size that is larger than total state populations for most of the country.

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Living within that small county are more than 10 million people who call Los Angeles home! The county population is comparable to the state populations in New York, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, just to name a couple. Finding sufficient housing here must cost a lot of money!

Hudson Bay Size Compared to Cuba

The island of Cuba has been a popular holiday destination for years. Cuba appears to be pretty big on a world map, but when observed next to Hudson Bay in North America, it looks smaller than many of the Canadian provinces that surround the Bay.

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Cuba is about 8.33% the size of Hudson Bay, and when it’s superimposed directly in the middle of it, it looks like it could get swallowed up by the water. If Cuba sinks like the Maldives did, it will end up being a sand bar, but we have time before that happens.

United States Sized by Population Density

Many states within the United States have small populations, particularly those in the Pacific Northwest and middle America. The reason it’s like this is because the Midwest doesn’t have as many job opportunities as the big cities do, and the Pacific Northwest is pricey.

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This is how the United States would look like if the map was solely based on population density. Notice how most of the population continues to cluster along the coasts and along the Canadian-US border. If you felt the urge to move and get away from super populated areas, then this map will guide you.

The Neverending China-US Battle

China is the country with the world’s largest population. The East Asian country has held this title for years, and fortunately, hosts a sizable landmass to support its growing population. Still, the United States gives China a run for its money when it comes to land size.

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When put next to each other, the United States is only slightly bigger in terms of land size. The two superpowers are nearly identical in size, but China is 9,596,961 sq km, and America is 9,833,517 sq km. When it comes to landmass, the United States comes out on top.

Where to Get a Cup of Joe

The United States is full of small cafes with their own homemade brews. Some have tasty cold brews, while others focus on fancier coffees topped with frothy designs that baristas come up with. Though if we’re talking coffee chains, there are a few main brands that rule the country.

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Most of the country prefers Starbucks, originally from Seattle, WA. On the East Coast, people tend to go for Dunkin’ Donuts as their go-to coffee place. Caribou Coffee earns an honorable mention since it comes out of Minnesota and has managed to become the most popular chain in that state.

Find Your Street on Google

If you reside in most parts of the world, you are likely to have seen the Google Street View crew make its way around. This independent vehicle was created to map every part of the world, and if it can’t cross the area, then mappers are deployed out on foot or by bike to finish the job.

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There are some areas around the world that continue to be closed off to the Google Street View crew, like parts of Africa and Russia. These days you’ll either have to go to these places yourself or search for pictures of them.

The True Size of India

After China, India is the country with the second-highest population. The country contains about 1.4 billion people, living all throughout its borders. According to most world maps, India doesn’t look that large, but in reality, it’s the seventh-largest country on the planet.

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With India directly compared to the United States, we see that despite India’s large size, it seems much smaller when held up against America’s massiveness. It is almost half the size of the United States, which is still pretty sizable. World maps everywhere need to begin to show it more on a real scale.

Big Areas With Fewer People

While we have seen plenty of maps displaying the United States and its population density and size, there are still numerous other countries that are entitled to some attention. This map highlights all of the countries that host populations under 100 million.

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Countries like Australia, Canada, and New Zealand have such significant landmass to small population ratios, mostly due to climate. The harsh cold climate in Northern Canada makes it very tough for people to live there permanently, and the hot desert climate in areas of Australia face similar hardships. Countries with nicer climates tend to have larger populations.

The Sheer Size of Russia

When looking at a world map, one specific country stands out due to its size – Russia. Russia is the biggest country in the world when it comes to land size. Still, like several other countries, it has places that aren’t very populated because of the harsh winter climate.

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Examining it from a different perspective, look how large Russia is after placing China directly over it. China is not as tiny as maps make it out to be when compared to Russia, though it is still notably smaller. Measuring by land size alone, Russia is a remarkable 44% bigger than China.

Antarctica in All Its Glory

Most maps have Antarctica as a long, skinny continent that sits at the bottom of the planet. Unless you are examining a globe, it is difficult to conceptualize that Antarctica is actually a rounder-shaped continent rather than a long and skinny one.

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Antarctica doesn’t have a constant population the way that other continents do because it’s made up of researchers, scientists, and support staff who operate on a rotational system. When comparing Antarctica’s size to North America, it’s slightly smaller, though it would be 40% bigger than Canada if it were a country.

Big Cities Have the Most Noise

Any person who has spent time in a city knows that something is going on all of the time. Clubs blare their music, cars honk, and sirens go off. This symphony of sound comes together to what is officially referred to as noise pollution.

Source: The National Park Service

This map has lit-up areas, which all focus on major cities like Miami, Los Angeles, and New York. These cities have huge populations, which then leads to an increase in noise. If you like the quiet, then you will want to head towards the middle of the country. We hear Wyoming is a great choice.

Major Cities See Major Population Spikes

A consistently growing population is needed for a country to become larger. For instance, Japan has an aging population and not much immigration, which has resulted in a declining population size. This map highlights all of the notable population growths that are happening across the United States.

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Many of these spikes are condensed in the major cities, which commonly experience an increase in immigrants. Along the Canadian border, there is a lesser amount of spikes, and that may be because there aren’t any major cities in middle America right next to the border.

The Unlikely Pairing of Mongolia and Montana

Montana is an American state that doesn’t get talked about much. Surprisingly, it shares a few things in common with the country of Mongolia. Both aren’t very populated, have large pieces of land for livestock to roam, and a booming agricultural sector.

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In terms of land size, the two entities begin to differ, amongst several other aspects. When it comes to land size, Mongolia is 4.1 times bigger. The odd thing is that mapmakers tend to make Mongolia look like an enormous country in Asia when that is not the reality.

From One Springfield to the Next

For some strange reason, Springfield is one of the most common names for places in the United States. In only 25 states, there are is a total of 33 towns which are all named Springfield. Because of this, road trippers have started to chart the perfect route to be able to visit all 33 Springfields!

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If you have been waiting for adventure, then visiting one of the numerous Springfields would make for a fantastic road trip. This map highlights the route that allows you to drive through the majority of the Springfields.

Poland Is Big, but Texas Is Massive

The Eastern European country of Poland is famous for its delicious pierogis and remarkable architecture that transports people many years back in time. Taking a look at this map looks like someone wanted to compare the state of Texas to the country of Poland.

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Poland did not come out as the winner of this size comparison. Poland itself is big, but Texas is massive. In this example, everything did turn out to be bigger in Texas. But, we’re still on the fence when it comes to if the cuisine in Texas is tastier. Poland could win in a food competition.

The United Countries of America

It can be a fun activity to create your own maps, particularly when you want to see just how many smaller countries can fit inside the continental US’ borders. One Reddit user seemed to contemplate this question as he went on to make one and then post it online for others to see.

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As you might note, a high number of countries can fit inside the United States. Even though the United States is large and densely populated in many states, there is plenty of land that is pretty unpopulated.

True Scale of North America

Plenty of people go to school and learn about geography or the artistry of mapmaking by using applications like a Geographic Information Mapping System. For those who have put in the time and effort to study size comparisons, they learned that maps are oftentimes scaled incorrectly.

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The United States is often given a spot of prominence and made to look bigger on maps, including the ones that American school systems use to teach geography. In reality, Africa and South America are both much larger continents. When gazing at maps, always check the scale and keep that in mind.

Not So Many Ridiculously Large Cities

Places like Miami, New York City, and Seoul in South Korea have populations that reach into the millions. Several other cities don’t come anywhere close to having a population of that magnitude. To put it into perspective, this map features black dots for every city with more than 100,000 people living there.

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If you pay special attention, you’ll notice that there are not that many cities with overwhelmingly large populations living there. In many of the cases, the bulk of the populations live outside of the city and opt for more rural areas, which might help explain the smaller populations.

Where Most of the World’s Population Live

By this point in our list, we should all know which countries have the largest populations in the world: China and India. They just happen to be located on the same continent, which means that most of the world’s population is centered within the Asia-Pacific region.

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The highlighted circle on this map is where the bulk of the world’s population lives, and both countries are part of Asia. If you thought that the United States was compactly populated, then think twice because that is nothing. It only makes up about 5% of the total population on the planet.

Sports Fans of the World, Unite!

Over the years, various sports have gotten more and more popular. In ancient Greek times, sporting events like the javelin throw and running were the standard. Now that we’re in the 21st century, there is one sport that remains dominant around the world.

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If your guess was soccer, or football as it is more commonly known in most other countries, then you would be correct! Soccer is played across the globe, and crazy dedicated fans continue to go to games and watch all broadcast games whenever they are on television.

This Earth Is on Fire

Climate change is a real issue, and numerous countries across the world are dealing with the effects of it. One of the consequences is an increase in wildfires, which have started to pass through countries like Australia, Canada, and the United States.

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To try and raise global awareness about these wildfires, the NASA-run Earth Observatory Team released a map showing where all of the active fires were burning. This photo from 2020 showcases the importance of coming from climate change and consciously doing what we can to minimize it.

Driving Differences Across the World

Those of you who have traveled to the United Kingdom or any former Commonwealth country are fairly familiar with driving on the left side of the street. Driving on the left side comes from years ago, back when vehicles were first invented and put on the streets.

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In the United Kingdom, they still drive on the left side. Any Commonwealth country that was also a former British colony has also continued to drive on the left side. If you’re unsure about which side to drive on, always check the current traffic and go over this helpful map.

Earth’s Color-Coded Population Map

While the size of a country can help determine the population size that it can realistically support, there are several other factors that contribute. For instance, populations typically grow in areas that have a regulated climate, accessible resources like farmable land and freshwater, and trade ports.

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Checking out this map, which showcases how the world’s population is scattered, you will note that these aspects are crucial. Most of the population is concentrated on the coasts of continents and not so populated in regions that have to endure arctic temperatures. No one thoroughly likes being cold!

The Most Realistic World Map

With a disappointing amount of maps not drawn to scale, the time has come to look at one that accurately shows what countries’ sizes actually look like. The Hobo-Dyer Equal Area Projection team created this map which highlights just how large countries and continents are in comparison to one another.

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Africa is noticeably larger than it’s regularly portrayed, which is noteworthy as it is growing into an economic powerhouse and is having huge population growth. The United States is also much smaller than it’s typically shown, so it isn’t the largest according to the landmass despite its economic importance.

An Enormous Land Down Under

Australia has a total landmass of 7.7 million square kilometers, which makes it one of the larger countries and continents in the world. It can be difficult to put into perspective just how large that is without relating it to other countries.

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This map depicts how countries like South Africa and Thailand, among many, can comfortably fit inside their borders. There would be even extra room for smaller countries, like Luxembourg, if we wanted to squeeze in any more. If you dream of living in a country with warm weather, lots of wildlife, and not many people, then Australia is perfect.

Beginner’s Guide to Latitude and Longitude

Mercator’s Projection isn’t a brand new method of designing maps. In 1569, a man called Gerardus Mercator introduced his mapmaking strategy and methods. It is a process that uses meridians, lines of longitude and latitude, and using the equator to generate a cylindrical projection.

Source: Libre Space

This strategy of mapping remains the primary method of mapping, specifically for navigation charts. The issue with this method of mapping is that sometimes it can be pretty inaccurate. This is because the lines used do not always show exactly where continents should be positioned on a flat map.

True Size of Japan

East Asia is mainly composed of China, South Korea, and Japan. Japan is typically shown as a smaller island off the east coast of Asia, but that isn’t completely accurate. Mercator’s Projection is the reason behind Japan’s smaller appearance on maps, so this needs to be put into perspective.

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Japan, in relation to the east coast of the United States, is quite big. In addition to that, it has a population of more than 126 million people. That is nearly a third of the US population, which is remarkable considering how much smaller Japan is when it comes to the landmass.

The True North Strong and Free

There are plenty of stereotypes about Canada. Canadians don’t reside in igloos, take moose to school, and put maple syrup on all their food. Having said that, most Canadians do typically live close to the United States border or along the coastlines, all below this red line.

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It’s centered in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario on the east coast. Part of this is because of the fact that Montreal and Toronto are two of the largest cities in Canada and are located in these provinces. Home to 20 million people, the remainder of Canada is essentially untouched.

Migration of North American Mammals

While people might choose to live outside of Northern Canada, some animals continue to roam there. In the Northwest Territories, the Yukon and Nunavut, herds of caribou follow the same migratory paths annually. That’s true for several other animals, such as Canadian geese and the large water mammals like beluga whales.

Photo by Dan Majka/The Nature Conservancy

Every animal that migrates sticks to a route, usually from north to south, so that it gets to enjoy warmer weather in the tough winter months. This map is mainly focused on mammal migration paths, but insects like monarch butterflies are also famous for following specific paths.

Conceptual Focus on Borders

By analyzing a map, it is apparent which countries share borders. The Topologist’s Map of the World showcases a slightly different perspective. Rather than a traditional world map, the Topologist’s Map puts countries that have touching borders by continent.

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Every continent is separated by a blue line, and the small rectangular shapes that surround the continents are islands that don’t share borders but are in similar vicinities. Theoretically, this map is pretty simple to understand, though it doesn’t accurately show landmass to scale, which is a disadvantage. This is just an additional method to examine the world.

Just Around the Riverbend

Countries that have a lot of water are able to irrigate land for farming, provide clean water to the people living there, and sometimes export water as a commodity. The United States is home to a remarkable 250,000 rivers, which travel over 3.5 million miles of land.

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Everywhere you go, it seems like there’s a stream or a river nearby. With that amount of rivers in the continental United States, it comes as no surprise that there is one that’s more than 2,540 miles long. The Missouri River holds the title for the river covering the largest distance in America.

From Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico

The Missouri River may have snagged the title for the longest river, but it isn’t the river that holds the highest volume of water. That winner is none other than the Mississippi River. All the red on this map symbolizes all of the rivers that flow into the Mississippi.

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It is estimated that about 7,000 rivers that cross the United States eventually feed into the Mississippi River, and that is what makes it the mighty river we know and love. You should also note that the Mississippi River eventually feeds into the ocean and directly into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Journey to One Billion People

With over 7 billion people on Earth, it’s difficult to think that most of that population is located in Africa, Asia, and South America. To explore this, take a gander at this color-coded map. Each color depicts how the world’s populations merge to reach 1 billion people in particular regions.

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For instance, combining Australia, North America, and South America would reach 1 billion people. India and China each have one billion people, and Africa and Europe together with the Middle East, regions of Asia, and Oceania making up the remainder. That is plenty of people for the Earth to support.

Time to Breakout Your Space Suits!

It’s finally time to travel off-planet and take a glimpse at the moon. Space exploration is still relatively new, and slowly but surely, we are getting closer to studying other planets and more secrets about the scope of the universe. Everyone sees the moon from our planet, but what is its actual size?

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With the United States of America laid over the moon’s surface, you will notice that it takes up nearly the entire side of it. If Asia had been placed over the moon, it would have covered roughly the entire landmass of the moon.