You don't know it, but your perception of our world has been drastically altered by one Gerardus Mercator. From your grade school classroom wall to Google Maps, his Mercator projection has become one of the most common ways to represent our (almost) spherical globe in a 2D fashion. It is very difficult not to notice how much this projection distorts parts of the image, specifically areas closer to the poles. It is frequently pointed out how relatively small land masses like Greenland and Antarctica appear massive and stretched out. However, more subtle distortions are rarely noticed or pointed out. MAPfrappe is a very cool tool that allows you to better understand how different areas of our planet stack up in scale.
MAPfrappe presents you with two Google Maps windows - a reference map, and a comparison space. The reference map allows you to trace a blue outline on anything you'd like. It could be as small as a building, or as large as a country. This same outline will appear below in the comparison space, where it can be dragged to other locations. The cool part is that MAPfrappe will automatically apply the appropriate distortions to you outline to compensate for the Mercator projection. It can make for some mind blowing comparisons. I was very impressed by how large Africa looks when compared to the mainland United States and by how much bigger Cuba is than Vancouver Island. MAPfrappe allows you to generate a URL for your comparison, so you can share it with your friends or in the comments below. If you don't have time to trace your own outlines, MAPfrappe also has a list of interesting comparisons that will automatically display when selected.