Your geographical misconceptions

But only one I’d never noticed, despite spending a lot of time as a child staring at maps.

Speaking of Michigan, As someone who lives in Michigan; I saw a ranking of the size of Michigan compared to other states, and was halfway through composing a mocking response about how badly informed of geography someone would have to be to put Michigan as high is they did. Then it occurred to me, if they are including water area, and half of the appropriate Great Lakes in that, Michigan gets much larger

For me, I can never remember which is Thailand, Cambodia, and Burma even though I know the locations and general shapes of the three countries. Whenever I read about Cambodian-Vietnamese conflicts I always wonder how they managed to go through Laos or Thailand without getting them involved.

I’m always surprised by those maps which purport to show countries in “real size” with more accurate spherical projections. Africa, and many other places, are way bigger than I thought.

I’m also surprised by the small populations of some countries which sometimes have lots more cultural or political influence than one might guess. And the large populations of countries like the US.

When we learned about African geography in elementary school, I was pleased to discover a place name on the map, right between Zaire and Congo, that I recognized from the first line of the “Carmen Sandiego” theme song: “Well, she sneaks around the world from Kiev to Cabidina…” Took me about a decade that I’d been misreading “Cabinda” and mishearing “Carolina” (which, to be fair, isn’t a real place name either).

Oh, really?

I live in Colorado, and every time I look at a map, I’m surprised to see that Utah is the next state over. I always imagine it being … I dunno, somewhere up by Oregon.

Huh? The song only mentions Carolina, and not Cabidina or Cabinda.

I have always pictured the UK to be East of Europe. Swimming the Channel? I immediately imagine swimming right to left from England to France. Bombers from Germany in WWII? I always picture them flying from left to right.

I was a bit surprised when I learned the westernmost point in the US is in Alaska, not Hawaii like I’d always pictured.

I have none. I was Top of my class in Geography. What I don’t know, I’ll look up. Sorry.

I had the notion, very recently, that the St. Lawrence River forms the border between the US and Canada east of Lake Eerie (yes, Lake Eerie, not even Lake Ontario) clear on to the Atlantic (including Maine).

I lived in Wausau, Wisconsin for 4 years. I didn’t believe my friends in Merrill, Wisconsin when they pointed out we were North of Toronto.

I was surprised to discover that Atlanta is further west than Detroit., and Amsterdam is further north than London.

I have a cousin (once removed) who thinks Alaska and Hawaii are right off the coast of California, like they were in the big wall maps in grade school.

My geography is terrible. However, while the lake may be strange, it’s called Erie.

(Spellcheck run amok?)

Ahhhh! (one more misconception, I guess)

It wasn’t named after that town in Indiana?

I too have seen a map.

When we were about 8 and 6 and headed off on a family road trip from NY to WI my little brother was petrified, because we’d be going through Canada, where the tornadoes were in the Wizard of Oz

This is one I was going to mention, which I only learned fairly recently, via this very board. It was phrased as “If you travel due North from the westernmost point of continental South America, what is the first US state you will reach?”, with the answer being Florida of course. I was thinking Alaska or California and had to immediately look at a globe to verify it - another case of misleading map projections.

In a similar vein, Maine is the closest US state to Africa, and the northernmost point of Brazil is closer to Canada than it is to the southernmost point of Brazil.