ATLAS OBSCURA

The Mapparium - Boston, Massachusetts 

The Mapparium is the only place in the world in which the surface of the earth can be seen without distortion. Even when looking at an accurate globe, the relative sizes of the continents are distorted by perspective, as the spherical shape causes different regions to appear at different distances from the eye. But with a view from the very center of a globe, looking out, the eye is the same distance from every point on the map.

It is fascinating to view the earth this way for the first time. Africa is huge. North America, Europe, and Asia are all jammed up against the North Pole. You have to look nearly straight up to see them. Sizes and locations of continents and countries you’ve always taken for granted are suddenly unfamiliar.

While the relative size and position of the continents are correct, the map’s political boundaries are long out of date. The Mapparium hasn’t changed since 1935

But would you believe the Mapparium was created as a result of the early 20th century’s newspaper wars? Keep reading about the Mapparium on Atlas Obscura…