How Big is California?

At 163,696 square miles, California is the third largest state in the United States. But how big is it really? 163,696 square miles is a hard number to comprehend. You might be tempted to look at a map to get a visual sense of California’s size, but be careful: most 2D maps massively distort area in favor of shape and presentation. This includes Google Maps, which uses the Mercator Projection, where geographic bodies become larger as you move further from the equator to the poles.

In order to compensate for these mapping distortions, we used special software to create an outline of California. As we move the outline around the map, it changes its shape to account for the projection’s distorting effects. This allowed us to create the following maps which accurately compare California’s size to bodies of land around the world.

Also, because this is the kind of thing we think about at, you’d need 22.8 billion 10×20 storage units to store California.


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Categories Real Estate