google has opted for a 3D view of the globe in its latest update to google mapswhen you zoom all the way out, instead of seeing a flat ‘mercator’ projection, users will see a moon’s-eye view of the planet.


with 3D globe mode on google maps desktop, greenland’s projection is no longer the size of africa‘, google maps said on twitter. the search engine company is referring to the challenges when trying to represent the true areas of different regions on a three-dimensional world using a two-dimensional surface. 



mercator projections show accurate shapes of countries, but enlarges regions that are farther away from the equator. a good example is the relative sizes of greenland and africa. using a mercator projections, greenland appears larger than africa, when it is in fact much smaller – africa is 11.73 million square miles and greenland, 836,300 square miles. the ‘globe mode’ update is only available on desktop and works on all major browsers, including chrome, edge and firefox.