26 November 2010

the world is flat

You will all love this post,
it's going to be like returning to the 7th grade.
It started out as a simple "what I did yesterday" post,
and it has totally snowballed out of control.

Yesterday before the Thanksgiving feast,
the kids and I went to the shop to complete a nagging project.

map project completed

Almost 15 years ago I found this map at a garage sale.
It has a really bitchin teak frame and (right now) unbroken glass.
This is something that belongs in a restaurant, bar, museum or pirate ship -
not a house with 3 kids!
Anyway for the 2 years we've lived at this house,
it has been perilously leaning on the wall on the floor,
in the main walkway from the kitchen to the living room.
I can't believe it has lasted this long.
Well after a million hints from my wife we finally mounted it,
it took about 2 hours.
2 years of waiting on 2 hours of work!
(yeah those brackets are a little crooked, yeah whatever...)

mercator projection house map

This map sits across from the dining room table,
so its one of those things you just daydream at.
After alot of staring you just realize, what the heck is wrong with this map.
Why is Greenland larger than South America?
Why is Alaska larger than  Australia?

mercator projection legend

Well this is called a Mercator Projection map,
when the latitude and longitude are perpendicular/parallel straight lines.
Useful in navigation when needing to find actual direction pertaining to land and water position.
The problem is one inch at the equator equals 475 miles,
and one inch near Greenland or Antarctica equals 100 miles!

Before 1975, this was actually a standard,
as this was approved by the Department of Defense.
Interesting how map technology from 1569 was standard for over 200 years!

So after a couple minutes researching,
I found out that there are many different map "projections",
all trying to map out a round ball onto a flat paper.


Some of the most recognized now being the 1961 Robinson projection -
a standard before 1998.

Robinson Projection

Recognizable as the latitudes (east/west) are straight,
and the longitudes (north/south) are slightly curved.
This map proved the power of the press as Rand McNally pushed this view,
although it is more distorted than the following version 40 years older.


The 1921 Winkel Triplet projection which is supposedly the most accurate,
and has been the National Geographic Society standard since 1998.

Winkel Triplet projection

Recognizable as both the latitudes and longitudes are slightly curved.
Winkel tripel projection - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tissot's Indicatrix - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Definitely one of the most mathematical versions.


Personally I like this one the best, the Hammer Projection designed in 1892.
This one seems the most true as the north and south poles
 are the actual converging points of the longitudinal lines,
rather than an unrealistic straight line which is the general compromise of global maps.

Hammer Projection


To throw even more irons in the fire,
this map company reproduces 17 different map projections.

Gallery / Nevron Diagram for .NET / Maps / Map Projections

Before today I never really thought about cartography,
just took it for granted.
I'm sure you didn't either.
Maybe this will help when you're watching jeopardy?


getting back to our House Map.

Pacific Oriented Mercator Projection

After looking at all these maps,
what could make this outdated map even cooler than most others?
No its not that USSR still exists,
or that the altitude/color legend is totally useless.
(Greenland and Antarctica are almost all white,
 which would basically mean their coastlines are 2000' cliffs)


Its that this is a map oriented to the Pacific Ocean.
Almost every world map (non-globe of course) I've seen is the Euro-centric Atlantic map,
as we all know it's the real center of civilization!
Now that Japan, China and other asian countries are the real manufacturing powerhouses,
this might be the correct way to view the world!

test next friday...


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