This answer points out that the standard maps we use are rather useless when it comes to determining length of a trip over a large distance. Are there maps available that better represent travelled distance relative to another route if latitudal motion is a factor?

  • 1
    Do you know gcmap.com? It allows you to calculate the great circle distances as well as provide the possibility to create an own map with different routes to compare them.
    – dunni
    Apr 12, 2017 at 8:27
  • Yes, use a globe.
    – JonathanReez
    Apr 12, 2017 at 10:38

2 Answers 2


For flat maps and large distances, no. As Wikipedia's article on map projections makes clear, although a map projection can be chosen to preserve distance, it can only do so between one point (or two) and the rest of the world. So I could have a London equidistant projection map that preserved distances from London to everywhere else (and possibly similarly for one other point, which I guess to be the antipode of London), but it would not preserve eg distance from New York to Moscow. It would also preserve neither shapes nor areas, so it would look odd to an eye used to Mercator, as most of ours are.

Get yourself a decent globe and a piece of string, or learn to perform great-circle calculations yourself.


I use Google Earth in these instances.

  • I would have greatly preferred a visual solution rather than a calculated one. But I suppose this works too.
    – Weckar E.
    Apr 12, 2017 at 10:27
  • 2
    You can't perfectly represent a 3 dimensional object in 2 dimensions. If you want accuracy a globe (virtual or real) is the only option.
    – Kris
    Apr 12, 2017 at 10:29
  • I'm aware of the problems that Gaussian curvature cause, but I figured there had to be a better projection that is more accurate.
    – Weckar E.
    Apr 12, 2017 at 10:35

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