The total width of the mapboards is 56"; total height is 22". However, there is additional room needed on both sides for the playing counters, the "Order of Appearance" sheets and the accessories box (hit markers, "control" flags, etc.). That doesn't include the snacks and drinks so VITALLY neccessary to sustain a combat gamer! A large table is neccessary, and hopefully out of reach for cats and small children, who can really play havoc with a war!
This way seems to encourage Japanese forays into the Indian Ocean. Maybe because it's right in the middle of the Board; I dunno. As the sea areas around the Americas and the North Pacific/Hawaii/Samoa region are essentially in the backwater and usually get little play, this puts the normal playing areas more centrally located.
This configuration is instructive in that the power of the United States Fleet is more evident. If the Allies are electing to use the US-Pacific-Fleet-stays-on-the-West-Coast scenario rules, this helps keep track of where that HUGE fleet is! It also, however, puts the US in greater danger of attack, being easily seen by the Japanese player instead of "out of sight and out of mind" as when playing on the normal VITP mapboard.