How Big is Montana, Actually?

Weighing in at 147,164 square miles of land area, Montana is the 4th-largest state by land area, coming in right behind California and just in front of New Mexico. But how big is it really? Many people have a hard time visualizing 147 square miles, let alone 147,164. You might be tempted to look at a map to get a visual sense of Montana’s size, but be careful: most 2D maps massively distort area in favor of shape and presentation. This includes trusty Google Maps, which uses the popular Mercator Projection, a map projection which sacrifices the accurate display of size in favor of shape and presentation. With the Mercator Projection, geographic bodies become larger as you move further from the equator and towards the poles.

In order to compensate for these distorted 2D maps, we used special mapping software to create an outline of Montana. 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 Montana’s size to bodies of land around the world. For Montanans more familiar with Montana’s size, these maps should help put the size of other places in perspective and show how much these map distortions affect our perception. For those less familiar with Montana, these maps will help give you an idea of how massive this gargantuan state really is.

Also, because this is the kind of thing we think about at, you’d need 20,513,484,288 10×20 storage units to store Montana.


Embed this image on your site (copy the code below):

Categories Real Estate