Political / Physical Maps & Satellite Images » World Map
Political Map of the World
The map above is a political map of the world centered on Europe and Africa. It shows the location of most of the world's countries and includes their names where space allows.
Representing a round earth on a flat map requires some distortion of the geographic features no matter how the map is done. We have used a Mercator projection for this map because it is the projection most commonly used in schools. On this map, geographic boundaries that trend north-south appear as vertical lines, geographic boundaries that trend east-west appear as horizontal lines. This type of projection causes a minimum of country-shape distortion near the equator, a small amount of distortion at mid-latitudes, but extreme distortion near the poles. For that reason, the map does not extend to the north and south poles.
Physical Map of the World
The map on the bottom of this page is a terrain relief image of the world with the boundaries of major countries shown as white lines. It includes the names of the world's oceans and the names of major bays, gulfs and seas. Lowest elevations are shown as a dark green color with a gradient from green to dark brown to gray as elevation increases. This allows the major mountain ranges and lowlands to be clearly visible.
This map is also a Mercator projection centered on Europe and Africa.
A scale of miles is not shown on these maps because the scale changes with distance north and south of the equator. Scale is highly exaggerated as distance from the equator increases.
Countries Labeled on this Map
We were able to show 132 world countries on the map above. The United States Department of State
recognizes 195 independent countries. We were not able to show every one of these countries on the
political map above because many of them were too small. You can find a complete list of countries
recognized by the State Department on their "Independent States in the World" webpage. A list of
the 132 labeled countries on our map is shown below.
Central African Republic
Cote d' Ivoire
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Papua New Guinea
Republic of the Congo