The 20 big countries that people struggle the most to locate on a map

Revealed: The 20 major countries people struggle the most to locate on a map, with Indonesia proving hardest and over HALF unable to find CANADA

  • In a survey, participants from around the world were asked to pinpoint major countries on an interactive map
  • Indonesia was deemed the most challenging to find after 83 per cent of those taking part failed to find it
  • Canada came 10th with 53 per cent unable to find it, while Australia was 14th as 46 per cent failed to locate it

Indonesia is the hardest major country to place on a map, according to a study.

In a survey, participants from around the world were asked to pinpoint countries on an interactive map and a ranking of the top 20 countries people struggled to find was then drawn up.

Indonesia came top of the ranking with 83 per cent failing to find it and Vietnam came second, with 81 per cent unable to correctly point it out. Surprisingly over half couldn’t locate Canada, just under half couldn’t place Australia and just over a third found locating France a challenge too far.

A map showing the top 20 countries that people struggled the most to locate in a study 


1. Indonesia – 83 per cent failed to place it

2. Vietnam – 81 per cent

3. Bangladesh – 78 per cent

4. Ukraine – 73 per cent

5. Peru – 69 per cent

6. Uzbekistan – 68 per cent

7. Japan – 62 per cent

8. Saudi Arabia – 61 per cent

9: Morocco – 57 per cent

10. Canada – 53 per cent

11. Angola – 52 per cent

12. Madagascar – 50 per cent

13. Myanmar – 49 per cent

14. Australia – 46 per cent

15. Poland – 43 per cent

16. Nepal – 42 per cent

17. Algeria – 37 per cent

18. France – 33 per cent

19. Ghana – 31 per cent

20. Germany – 29 per cent


The study was carried out by training course provider, which gathered a list of all of the countries with a population of more than 25million.

Each of the 6,550 participants in the research was then presented with a random selection of 20 of these countries and told to select their locations on the map.

The top 20 countries that people failed to identify were then ordered.

In third place was Bangladesh, known for its rivers and ruins, with 78 per cent unable to find it, while in fourth place was Ukraine, with 73 per cent failing to pick it out – despite it being the second-biggest country in Europe. 

Peru, one of 12 countries in South America, came fifth as 69 per cent couldn’t locate it.

Also making the top 10 were Uzbekistan (sixth, 68 per cent couldn’t pinpoint it), Japan (seventh, 62 per cent), Saudi Arabia (eight, 61 per cent), Morocco (ninth, 57 per cent) and Canada (10th, 53 per cent).

Indonesia is the hardest major country to place on a map, according to a study, with 83 per cent unable to locate the country on a map. Pictured is the stunning Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Temple on the Indonesia island of Bali 

The rest of the top 20 comprises Angola (11th, 52 per cent), Madagascar (12th, 50 per cent), Myanmar (13th, 49 per cent), Australia (14th, 46 per cent), Poland (15th, 43 per cent), Nepal (16th, 42 per cent), Algeria (17th, 37 per cent), France (18th, 33 per cent), Ghana (19th, 31 per cent) and Germany (20th, 29 per cent).

Regarding Indonesia taking the No1 spot, said: ‘Despite Bali, Jakarta and Lombok being among the most popular tourist attractions there, we found many only took good memories back with them.’   

It added that the Vietnam War ‘may have been something many were taught in their history lessons but clearly not enough emphasis was put on where it was located’.

In addition, surveyed participants to find out whether they had been to any of the countries listed and 57 per cent said they had.

Participants were then asked whether they were taught about countries in school, to which 32 per cent replied yes, 16 per cent couldn’t recall and 52 per cent answered no.

Asked whether more could be done to cover this subject in schools, 76 per cent of those taking part agreed.

Were you surprised by the results of the survey? 

Geography teachers probably weren’t, as geography illiteracy has been well-documented over the years.

In a 2002 National Geographic survey, 11 per cent of 18-to-24-year-old Americans couldn’t even locate their own country on a map, and 69 per cent couldn’t place the United Kingdom. 

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