Mercator Maps are Bizarre - Reason #67

via Drew Roos
The Mercator projection is infamous for its distortion at high latitudes. This distortion gets exponentially worse as you approach the poles. It is in fact impossible to show the poles on a Mercator map — they are infinitely far away.
Any Mercator map you've ever seen must cut off the top and bottom edges at some arbitrary point. The map stops short hundreds, if not thousands of miles away from the poles.
His solution - redo the Mercator, centered on wherever you want (e.g., where you live), and reduce the cutoff to make it somewhat mind-boggingly tall
To make things actually interesting, we must artifically shift the pole of the project to a more interesting place. Imagine the earth encased by a rigid cage of latitude and longitude lines. We rotate the earth while leaving the cage fixed until a new point of interest has taken the place of the North Pole.
This is called an oblique Mercator, and is normally used to shift an area of interest onto the equator of the map to avoid distortion. But whereas others avoid distortion, we embrace it.
Note how strange the oblique Mercator looks even without the increased cutoffs. The standard Mercator is so ingrained in the public consciousness that we perceive it as 'normal'. But once you shift the pole its ubiquitous distortion is laid bare.
Lastly, increasing the cutoffs produces a map much taller than it is wide. So it is presented sideways here for easier viewing. (set the pole to the North Pole like usual to see this most clearly)
Check it out!

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