This site shows you the relative sizes of different things in the world: cities, provinces, parks, buildings, countries, etc.

How to compare geo sizes…

First, in the left-hand map:

  1. Navigate to a place of interest. Use the map’s search box if needed.
  2. Click the map a few times to make an outline.

Next, in the right-hand map:

  1. Navigate to a different place of interest. Again, use the search box if needed.
  2. Move the map. Your outline floats over the map at the proper scale.

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Click the button below to generate a URL for this map. You can share the URL with your friends.

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About MAPfrappe

Basic information

MAPfrappe shows you an outline of one part of the world overlaid on another part of the world.

You draw an outline in the left-hand map, and that outline is overlaid over the right-hand map – at an appropriate size.

For example, you can sketch an outline of California in the left-hand map; and you can see your outline overlaid over Italy in the other map. Your outline stays centered in the right-hand map, and at an appropriate size.

You need basic knowledge of Google Maps interactions to get the most out of this web page.

Here’s how you can use this page…

1) Click on the left-hand map to draw an outline. Each click makes a new segment of the outline. Click on Close or End to finish one outline and start a new, disconnected outline. You can draw a closed outline (ClosedOutlineSample), or an open outline (OpenOutlineSample), or several outlines (MultiOutlineSample). An outline can have as many points as you want. But if you use a large number of points, your browser may redraw the image slowly.

2) As you draw your outline in the left-hand map, the outline appears at the center of the right-hand map. You can drag and zoom the right-hand map to anywhere in the world, and the outline stays in the center of the map. The outline keeps the same real-world size as in the left-hand map, so it may become very large or very tiny in the right-hand map.

You can use this page to answer questions like these: How big is Manhattan compared to my home town? How big is Texas compared to France? How big is the Golden Gate Bridge compared to my neighborhood?

Version 1.27. Last updated 29 Feb 2024.

Shape distortion

Your outline’s size or shape may change as you move around on the map. This distortion occurs for two different reasons.

First, Google Maps uses a Mercator projection for its maps. By design, this projection distorts distances at different latitudes. Distances are magnified at higher latitudes.

Second, my calculation of comparison marker positions attempts to preserve true distances between markers. These calculations account for the fact that units of longitude have different lengths depending on latitude. The calculations reverse Mercator distortions of horizontal distances.

Related sites

If you like this page, you might also like some of these:

  • Drew’s MAPfrappe index and blog - Drew is a fan of my site and maintains a publicly shared index of map comparisons. Thanks Drew!
  • Latitude/Longitude Exploration - Discover which places have the same latitude and longitude as each other.
  • The True Size - Interact with outlines of selected countries and U.S. states - supports rotation.
  • Gmap Pedometer - Draw a route or outline on a map, and the site tells you the length of the route. The site also lets you associate your route with a permanent URL.
  • ACME Planimeter - Draw an outline on a map, and the site tells you the area of the enclosed region.
  • Old SCTV Skit - SCTV did this long before I did.

Future work

User Interface Improvements

  • Improved callout of incompatible browsers.
  • Shrink search box for narrow maps.
  • Fix control button highlight on some browsers.
  • Nicer fail message for very small screens.

Features and Bug Fixes

  • Rotation of reference objects. Most requested.
  • Experiment with more Android devices.
  • Get Internet Explorer working again.
  • Tabbed interface to switch between the two maps.
  • Fix bugs at the International Date Line.
  • Proper spherical geometry.
  • Auto-navigate button when the user gets lost.
  • User dragging of Comparison overlay.

What is “frappe”?

Frappé is the French word for “shaken.” It’s also a blended coffee beverage invented in Greece. Wikipedia discusses several uses of the word here.

People in the Boston area also refer to a milkshake as a “frappe.” They pronounce it “frap,” to rhyme with “map.” I invite visitors to pronounce “MAPfrappe” any way they like, but I pronounce it like the Boston folk, as “map-frap.”

History of this site

I created the earliest version of this site in 2006 to help me explore various geographic relationships. Since then, I've regularly updated the site for changes to Google Maps and various web browsers.

In 2014 I updated the site with a “responsive” user interface — for mobile browsers and improved user experience.

— Kelvin Thompson


If you have some comments about this site, I would love to hear from you at the following email address:

see image for email address

But I may change this address someday if it gets too much spam. Check back here for the latest address each time you want to write.

Copyright © 2024 by Kelvin Thompson. All Rights Reserved.


Map Examples