Posts tagged ‘map projection’

March 17, 2011

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)