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>Things become standard and have a historical momentum behind them.
And again, still doesn’t mean it’s the best for every conceivable application just because it’s tradition. Unlike the QWERTY keyboard, there is a lot less re-learning necessary to effectively use a non-Mercator projection.
>Most people use maps the see where places are in relation to one another. For that purpose the Mercator is just fine.
>Obviously, if you’re comparing areas or doing something different, yeah, use a different projection, but that’s not what most people are using maps for.
1. Non-Mercator projections still show you “where places are in relation to one another.” Mercator may work fine, but why rely on it out of pure tradition when there are options which distort size and shape less?
2. And in any case, here, we are comparing area. I also think that even when you’re looking for “where places are in relation to one another,” it matters whether or not the “places” are distorted in size and shape. But at least we can say that for the task of comparing area and size, as in OP, Mercator is not appropriate. Is that fair?
I think it’s been a niche little trend to bash Mercator for a while. The West Wing episode with Cartographers for Social Justice should attest to that. But just because it’s trendy to hate on something doesn’t mean that there aren’t some legitimate complaints to be made about that thing. Going against a trend just to go against the trend is as shallow as going with it just to go with it.