About that map

July 27th, 2008 by Randy Jones

I was talking to Scott the other day about the map. Specifically how much longer the distances traveled appear recently compared to earlier segments, and yet, how it doesn’t seem possible that Geraldine will finish the trip on time when looking at the map.

The answer to all these questions is that the map on the website is Mercator Projection of the world. It is often used because it accurately shows land shapes, and also shows compass headings as straight lines. On other types of maps, following a northwest course results in a curved line. Anyhow, the disadvantage of the Mercator Projection, is that it distorts the scale of land near the poles — the farther north and south you go, the more the map shows features larger than it should be compared to features at the equator.

To put that in context of the Northwest Passage, Greenland is not really as big as all of North America, it is only slightly larger than Mexico. So the farther north our adventurers travel, the more distance they will cover on the map each day (assuming they don’t slow down!). This will allow them to finish the trip on time!

For more on the Mercator Projection visit wikipedia:

6 Responses to “About that map”

  1. mike and pat moore Says:

    Hi Kip and Walt,
    Wanted to let you know Martin Smith was ordained at 2PM today. It was a terrific ceremony,with many family and friends there.Of course, his adventure is a little more tame than yours:Redondo Beach sounds more tame than Nunavit!!! Anyway we continue to follow your adventures, as we pray for safe travels for MV Geraldine.
    With much love, Mike and Pat Moore

  2. Chuck Single Says:


    I have been using a polar map, which is gteat near the poles, but more and more distorted as you approach the equator. It is impossible to put a sphere onto a sheet of paper without some distortion.

    I enjoy the website, and find it easy to use. An awesome “tool” for Walt and KIp to describe the journey. What a “potlatch” book tjhis would make !!

    Love you, JEnny, and Quinlan

    Grandpa Single

  3. Rebecca Robertson Says:

    Thanks for that info Randy. I kept thinking “there is no way they are getting to Nome on time, they don’t go very far each day”, but I didn’t compare the size of Greenland to North America so didn’t make the connection. I was really beginning to wonder when I would see my husband again! Hope they can send an update again soon.


  4. Martin Robertson Says:

    We missed you Pat and Shane and family the reunion was great I am going to be adopted by you Pat so I can do fun thing like that with you two I am jealous have a great time and take a lot of pics you all have our prayers

  5. tim thiessen Says:

    I don’t know if you’ll be up high enough to see the total solar eclipse on august 1st – of course you should be able to see the partial eclipse – take care


  6. mark Says:

    well i’d say that this trip was well worth the wait, i’m really enjoying following you guys,continued success and fun as you go!!! Godspeed mariners!

    ps- drop a message in a bottle up there and see where it ends up. and when!

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I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go — Genesis 28:15