What happened to the scale bars?
When we designed our new site, we wanted to be able to deliver seamless maps of the world, that could be panned and zoomed easily, without necessarily making users step through different scales or layers. To do that, we reprojected the map data using a system known as Mercator. Mercator is a cylindrical projection, which means that parallels and meridians are straight and perpendicular to each other. Using this system, we could divide up the maps into 256×256-pixel tiles that always fit the circumference of the world, and that can allow you to pan all the way around the world. One issue with Mercator, however, is that it distorts the map – the map is stretched east-west and north-south, and this stretching increases as the distance from the equator increases. The result is that scale varies from place to place. Since scales no longer match up, we replaced scales with zoom levels. The zoom levels work in the following way: zoom level 1 aims to capture the extents of the world in one 256