- from Maps and Mapmaking
It’s not possible to really show a ball-shaped world on a flat map.
As National Geographic magazine once put it, “The skin of a round ball will not lie flat.” But flat maps have their uses. They let us look at the whole world all at once. Different mapmakers have come up with different ways of “squaring the circle.” These ways are called projections. Every type distorts what’s real in some way. Different types of projections are good for different purposes.