Image of the World on polyhedral maps and globes

  • 1 Warsaw University of Technology Department of Cartography, Poland


Application of polyhedrons as image surface in cartographic projections has a tradition of more than 200 years. The first maps relying on polyhedrons appeared in the 19th century. One of the first maps which based on an original polyhedral projection using a regular octahedron was constructed by the Californian architect Bernard Cahill in 1909. Other well known polyhedral projections and maps included Buckminster Fuller’s projection and map into icosahedron from 1954 and S. Waterman’s projection into truncated octahedron from 1996, which resulted in the “butterfly” map. Polyhedrons as image surface have the advantage of allowing a continuous image of continents of the Earth with low projection distortion. Such maps can be used for many purposes, such as presentation of tectonic plates or geographic discoveries.

The article presents most well known polyhedral maps, describes cartographic projections applied in their preparation, as well as contemporary examples of polyhedral maps. The method of preparation of a polyhedral map and a virtual polyhedral globe is also presented.

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