- from Maps and Mapmaking
It’s not possible to represent a spherical world accurately on a flat map because, as National Geographic magazine once put it, “The skin of a round ball will not lie flat.”
But flat maps have their uses. For example, they enable us to look at the whole world in one glance. Different mapmakers have developed different ways of “squaring the circle,” called projections. Every type of projection distorts reality in some way. Different types of projections are useful for different purposes.