Last week, Google updated the desktop version of its online mapping service by replacing the planisphere system with a globe.
With all due respect to flat earth supporters, such as Kyrie Irving from the Boston Celtics, last weekend’s Google maps update gave a much more spherical shape to its virtual planet Earth by offering a world’s planisphere matching the famous Mercator’s projection.
If this modification does not seem to bring any modification within the framework of the traditional use of Google Maps, it is by zooming out that the magic of the cartography service works by proposing not anymore a flat world map, but well a terrestrial globe in 3D.
A desire to represent the earth more realistically.
If Google chose to abandon the planisphere, it is because the giant of Mountain View wishes to propose a vision of the earth much more realistic than the planisphere of the world allows according to the Mercator projection.
Imposed as the standard planisphere in the world thanks to the precision it could bring during sea voyages, Mercator’s projection has the main flaw of enormously distorting the areas that are furthest from the equator, by presenting Europe, for example, as more extensive on earth than South America, when in reality it is almost twice as large as Europe.
To overcome this problem, Google has opted for a representation of the earth in the form of a globe, which provides a representation of the world much more realistic than a planisphere allows.
Google Maps conquering space
However, the introduction of the globe is not the only novelty that the Mountain View giant has brought to its mapping service. By activating the satellite mode, it is now possible to travel in space.
With this update, Google has doubled its efforts by giving its users the possibility to observe live which surface of the earth and planets are illuminated by the sun, the effects of lighting on the earth from space or the possibility to visit other planets or natural satellites.