Strictly there are differences between 'compared to...' and 'compared with...'
To compare to is to point out or imply resemblances between objects regarded as essentially of a different order.
To compare with is mainly to point out differences between objects regarded as essentially of the same order.
In actual use, I rarely see/hear these forms used correctly anyway. So, taking your sentence: ''When compared with other mighty rivers of the world, *the* River Thames may appear small.'
But you could also use other forms, as you imply: 'When compared with other mighty rivers, the Thames may seem small,' for example.
BTW: to compare is a verb and compared is its participle.
This is quite a useful pattern in English.