As an unabashed geography nerd, it absolutely delights me to share with you my recent finding: MAPfrappe.

MapFrappe

The concept?

Using Google Maps, you can draw an outline of one part of the world (ex: the outline of Vancouver Island) and overlay it on another part of the world (ex: New York State), so you can properly visualize how it compares. And yes, for you cartography gurus, it does factor scale and projection distortion and makes the appropriate changes, so it’s more or less accurate.

As a geography nerd who contributes to travel forums and frequently answers questions from people who have little to no concept of the distances in Canada, I’ve always wanted a tool like this.

For example, do you know how many times people think they can just “see Vancouver Island” in a day?

It’s one thing to tell people that Vancouver Island is bigger than you probably expect, or that it takes 6 hours to drive from one end to another, but it’s another thing entirely to visually show them that to drive from Victoria the south end of Vancouver Island to Port Hardy the north end is equivalent to driving from New York City to Rochester.

Vancouver Island's size compared to New York

Recently on TripAdvisor, one man from the UK was planning to spend 9 nights in Canmore, Alberta as a base for exploring all the Rockies, including Banff and Jasper.

Using MAPfrappe, it was easier for me to illustrate (using a hopefully familiar – to him – UK example) why that’s not entirely practical. I can show him that Canmore to Jasper is the same distance as London to Liverpool, and hopefully that hits the point home that it would be better to use several bases to explore the Rockies (otherwise it would be like staying in London to see all of England).

Canmore to Jasper is the same distance as London to Liverpool

I also now know, thanks to MAPfrappe, that the standard TransCanada highway route from Vancouver to St John’s, Newfoundland is basically like driving (to use another European example) from London, England to Astana, Kazakhstan. Just to put Canada’s vastness in perspective.

Canada Compared to Europe

Who knew?

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