Ever More Maps

Apparently, maps are important.

Also, I wish I could remember the name of the book about Copernicus I heard about. In an interview, the author said that Copernicus got the idea for his big ‘reversal’ from a map he was studying. So, apparently, maps are important.

In the above video, the cartographers are promoting the use of the Peters projection. A projection I prefer more than the Peters is Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion map. Not only does it have no up-down aspect, but it distorts either the landmass or the world oceans less, and can be packed into a cuboctahedron to closer resemble the obloid sphere that is Earth. See…

Dymaxion map as an unfolded icosahedron

When you open it up, it can be set up to place all the landmasses as one piece (like in the image above):

Or you can open it up to show the world oceans in one piece.

Another projection I really like is the Quincuncial projection developed by the philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce in the 19th century.

It distorts the distance between the landmasses (like between South America and Africa), but it preserves the proportions of the continents better than Mercator and Peters. Also, no up and down here either.

Over at Cosmic Variance, the physicist Sean Carroll offers a few links about map projections (beyond nerdy), and explains one of the reasons for the quincuncial projection being his favorite. The closing line of the piece is the best though. “All of which is simply to say: if Charles Sanders Peirce were alive today, he would definitely have a blog.”

(more projections)

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2 Comments to “Ever More Maps”

  1. I think there are endless ways to try to convert spatial model into 2D drawing, but none of them will ever be accurate. Architecture is often based on that principle, but it reminds me how ancient Egyptians had a struggle to present distance differences in their drawings (without later invented perspective in drawing they found their way, but not so convincing according to now-days standards).
    Therefore, I’m not sure it is right approach trying to make plane out of a sphere, because you cannot do that. Then again, to make all people comfortable to use 3D model of a globe, it will take more time than it looks like.
    I would say one thing for sure: a wheel is round and therefore it can never be a square.

  2. Hi,
    Have you checked out my critique of the Dymaxion map, in favor of B.J.S. Cahill’s 1909 Octahedral Butterfly Map?
    http://www.genekeyes.com/FULLER/BF-1-intro.html
    And also
    http://www.genekeyes.com/B.J.S._CAHILL_RESOURCE.html

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