Fuller Projection

February 1st, 2010

Fold-up map (animated GIF)

The Fuller Projection, or Dymaxion Map, solves the age-old problem of displaying spherical data on a flat surface using a low-distortion transformation. The map also shows the world’s land masses without interruption — the map’s sinuses do not cut into the land area at any point.

Fuller projection

The Fuller Projection is rendered by juxtaposing a grid of triangles on the globe and transferring the data to corresponding triangles on an unfolded icosahedron.


See Chris Rywalt’s site for download options

Although the algorithm for transferring data from a sphere to a plane differs from previous icosahedral projections (the Gnomonic and John P. Synder’s for example), Robert W. Gray has shown that the orientation of the icosahedron is the most visually distinctive aspect of the map.

To the naked eye, the Fuller, gnomonic and Snyder projections are quasi-identical, once all are made to conform to the same trademarked layout.

Fuller hoped that this map would be widely used for sharing global data, but discouraged people from marring it with national political boundaries. Fuller regarded sovereignties as holdovers from a bygone era, and dangerous obstructions to the maturation of a post-racist, post-nationalist civilization (see No Race, No Class, Desovereignization?).

Perhaps owing to his anti-nationalism, Fuller’s projection has never been favored by the United Nations, which instead promotes the Peters Projection as an alternative to the Mercator. The Mercator artificially amplifies the sizes of landmasses in a way which makes the industrialized, developed nations appear to account for a greater percentage of the total geographical area than they really do.

Fuller’s map actually introduces less overall distortion than the Peters Projection.

Peters Projection (less accurate)

Quotable Quote

January 20th, 2010

There is no dictionary word for an army of invisible giants, one thousand miles tall, with their arms interlinked, girding the planet Earth. Since there exists just such an invisible, abstract, legal-contrivance army of giants, we have invented the word GRUNCH as the group designation—”a grunch of giants.” GR-UN- C-H, which stands for annual GROSS UNIVERSE CASH HEIST, pays annual dividends of over one trillion U.S. dollars.

As world society divests itself of that which experimental evidence demonstrates to be untrue and embracingly enters into its computer the mathematical formulae of all that can be experimentally proven to be true, all the socially, selfishly malignant characteristics of the giant may vanish and the omni-pro- social-advantage-producing capabilities may prevail and flourish.

— R.Buckminster Fuller, Grunch of Giants, 1983