When people look over maps, they don't typically make a habit of questioning how those maps were made. They trust that whoever made them knew what they were doing and that they'll get them to where they need to go. But nothing in the world is perfect, and cartography is no exception.
But because a list of slightly inaccurate maps would be pretty boring, it's time to get a little more extreme. Some maps are useless, others measure something totally random, and others are just plain bizarre. Take a look at some of the wildest ones, and don't worry if you start scratching your head in confusion while laughing at these hilariously terrible maps.
Nobody can say this map is wrong
In the caption accompanying this map, @TerribleMaps confidently asserted that more people in the world live inside this circle than outside of it.
Let that be a lesson that people can be just as confident about the obvious as they are about their biggest discoveries. But does anyone really live outside this circle?
Sometimes, the terrible part isn't drawn on the map itself
This is likely a perfectly serviceable map of this park, and it even includes some Braille inscriptions so blind guests can find out where they're trying to go.
Or at least, they would if those inscriptions weren't stuck behind a barrier that can only be bypassed with a key. It looks like the map people and the security people don't talk much.
This minor regional difference was important to somebody
This map is supposed to chart how much of the American population pronounces caramel "carmel," as opposed to who pronounces it the way it's spelled.
And if this map is to be believed (which is a big "if"), it seems that the three-syllable people are in some heavily-populated locations but are outnumbered by the others. Good to know.
Nobody asked, but here's an answer
In a 1966 interview, John Lennon remarked that either the Beatles or rock and roll bands, in general, were more popular than Jesus, which sparked a massive uproar in the United States.
But according to this map, more Americans searched for "The Beatles" on Google than "Jesus Christ" in all but 13 states. If this seems like some flawed methodology for determining popularity, that's probably because it is.
America like it's never been seen before
Because up until now, nobody had the idea to put Washington D.C. in Kansas and have all 50 states in the Union radiate out from the center of the country in thin, conical strips.
Imagine if somebody actually tried this. Sure, over 95% of the population may be deeply confused and horribly upset, but at least folks in Delaware and Rhode Island have more elbow room this way.
Ok, it's not the best map of South America
But the fact that it was able to represent the continent as well as it does is still pretty remarkable, considering it's just a steak.
At least it's got Argentina and Chile covered. Now it's just a matter of finding a porterhouse with the other ten countries somewhere on it.
There might be a teensy bit of bias in this one
This map is supposed to represent the number of nations with their flags on the Moon relative to those with the Moon on their flags. A quirky idea, but the execution has already run afoul of many non-Americans.
So far, nobody has disputed that the nations in red indeed have the Moon on their flags. But they're quick to point out that more flags are up there than the American one. Well, nobody ever claimed this was a perfect map...or a non-terrible one.
Thank you, Captain Obvious!
This map thoroughly examined each region of North America and determined that in every state and province represented, winter was the coldest season of the year. An incredible discovery that comes as new information to precisely nobody.
Look out for the long-awaited follow-up that answers what percentage of the world's water is wet.
Is it possible for a map to be impressive and terrible at once?
Somebody built an entire map of France using only deli meats and pickles.
Nothing is actually marked on it, so it probably wouldn't be terribly useful for finding any specific part of France, but it obviously took a lot of effort. It'll be harder to be charitable about this when that meat goes bad, though.
The easiest research project in the world
This awful map may not seem like it tells anyone anything, but there's a tiny little teal spot in Italy that says otherwise.
Because while most regions in the world can't scrape together even one pope per square mile, Vatican City manages to fit a pope despite not even measuring up to a square mile in area. The rest of the world is really slacking, isn't it?
Sometimes it's not the map that's the problem, but the legend
For instance, this map seems to imply that lizards exist in every country in the world except Canada. But as bewildered users quickly pointed out, Canada has lizards.
The country may be too cold to have as many varieties of them as other parts of the world, which this map might agree with. It's hard to know without having more context to go on than just "lizards."
Those who have said "garbage can" all their lives should sit down
Because it seems like they're severely outnumbered by the people who say "trash can" instead.
Is this map accurate? What data is it basing this claim on? How does the small enclave of people who say "garbage can" in Louisiana survive? Whose idea were these color choices? These are all exciting questions that this map is unprepared to answer.
Earth But Make It A Bear
People no longer have to sit around and wonder what the Earth would look like if it were, in fact, in the shape of a bear.
Instead, some brave soul took one for the good of humanity, taking the time to rearrange all of the continents, so they fit into a bear's body.
Believe it or not, this is supposed to be a map of the world
And while some people will inexplicably insist that the Earth is flat, it seems this map was designed to appeal to people who operate under an alternate theory.
To them, it's not as if the world is round but rather long and shaped like a hot dog. Do these people actually exist, or was this just made for the meme? It's honestly hard to tell nowadays.
This map introduces the world to a truly cursed concept
Are people so serious about their soft drink terminology that they refuse to call Iggy Pop anything but Iggy Soda? This map boldly suggests they are.
But one thing it neglects to account for is the regions where all soda is referred to as "Coke," regardless of which company actually made it. But honestly, who expected such fine attention to detail from such a crudely-drawn map?
This map is perfect...for art history buffs
This map is more "interesting if impractical" than terrible, but that definitely still makes it worth talking about. For those who are confused, this map of Europe represents each country by its most famous piece of art.
Not only are the results nice to look at, but in them, it's interesting to see which paintings won the popularity contest in the cases of art history juggernauts like Italy and France.
This is much less debatable than it seems
Some may look at this map and wonder what metrics these 12 deeply different states not only have in common but beat everybody else at.
And it turns out the answer is pretty simple. They're literally as far north as someone can go without leaving the United States, which puts them at the top of the nation. Again, nobody ever called this a good map, but that doesn't mean it's an incorrect one.
Technically true, but incredibly misleading
There are a lot of terrible maps out there, but few find as many ways to be aggravating to the right people as this one.
Not only is this not exactly useful as a map, but those who never liked that America is shorthand for the United States rather than an entire side of the world will really hate this one. These aren't even all of the southern states in the U.S.!
To see what makes this map so special, just follow the route
This was described as being the map for those who "can't afford a trip to the U.S." While part of the naming similarities come from the obvious fact that the United States was once a British colony, it's still wild to see some of these names.
And for those who are wondering, Washington wasn't named after the first American president like D.C. or Washington state is. Instead, this town's name provides insight into where his ancestors lived.
Not much scientific rigor to this one
Apparently, asking 100 women in each European country what shampoo they use is an even more daunting task than it sounds.
And judging by this map, that goes double if the survey questions are only asked in English to somebody who's still in the shower at the time. All of that speaks to how chill Ireland was about this, apparently.
These aren't the most crowded places
For those wondering what happened to so many countries on this map, the answer is that it only represents the countries with fewer than 100 million people living in them.
But unfortunately, that interesting context doesn't make the map any less terrible. Because as some pointed out, it suggests that Antarctica somehow has over 100 million people living there. Is the map counting penguins too?
This was captioned, "How aliens see Earth."
And while it's hardly impossible to find people who genuinely see the world this way, that doesn't make this map any less terrible.
Or is it an indictment of the aliens, who only seem to want to abduct Americans? Or would that theory be making this way deeper than it really is?
The punsters may not consider this map terrible
The saying goes that all roads lead to Rome, but this map reverses it by tracing routes from all of America's surprising numerous Romes to The Roads, Florida.
So, in this case, all Romes lead to Roads. This map also annoyed those who didn't hate the pun on sight because they noticed that Rome, New York, and Rome, Tennessee, weren't included. It takes a lot of thought to create a truly terrible map.
It's nice to see everyone agree on something
Sometimes the truth isn't very interesting, and that definitely seems to be the case for this pretty unimpressive map.
Most maps styled like this will actually say something about each state, even if that thing is pointless or juvenile. But all this tells anyone is how hard the English language would apparently fall apart without the word "the."
This is a surprisingly long way to go for an old meme
A few years ago, YouTube was abuzz with elaborate video edits that play with the context of the "steamed hams" sketch from The Simpsons. According to Principal Skinner and this map, the term is a regional dialect.
Just remember, somebody had to pull up a county-by-county map of the U.S. and find out which county Albany was in to commit to that bit. How desperately were they avoiding what they were supposed to do that day?
This time, the map isn't the problem. But something certainly is.
After all, this Google map is only accurately displaying the world's laziest name for a Scottish lake. Since lakes are typically called lochs there, somebody actually named this "Lake Lakey."
Would it have been more or less dignified to call it "Lakey McLakeface?" Maybe the great-great-grandfathers of the people who name things that way in internet polls were responsible for this.
Even by its own internal logic, this is a terrible map
At first glance, one might think it would be simply redundant to create a world map where no country is marked in red because they're all remembered.
But the devious prankster behind the map couldn't just leave it there. After all, that's not how to make a terrible map. Instead, they didn't include New Zealand in either white or red, making the whole exercise pointless.
Believe it or not, this is a map and not a piece of minimalist art
As for what it's a map of, it's not some obscure island in the Indian Ocean. In fact, it's the whole world.
At least, it represents the whole world once every country that doesn't start with the letter "O" is taken out. Surprisingly, that only leaves lonely Oman in an otherwise unending ocean.
This map is not what it seems in a couple of ways
For one thing, it may appear to chart some important population data or cultural trends, but it's actually supposed to map the eye color of each state's governor.
That may not be useful information, but that's not the terrible part. At the time the map was made, Virginia's governor didn't have green eyes, and Michigan's governor didn't have blue eyes. The real problems with these maps tend to be the subtlest.
Maybe this map needs a little more research
After all, it doesn't exactly inspire confidence when something that's supposed to inform the public covers so much of its area in question marks.
And for those wondering what this map is about, the red area is supposed to be the historical distribution of lions in this area, while the blue area represents the distribution today. It's a little hard to trust, though.