May 2008
« Apr   Jun »




Dymaxion mapping.

Ok, so I’ve been away awhile. I visited the Maker Faire, and San Deigo Amphib Base (twice). Two days ago I read Benford’s Cosm, start to finish. And learned that the nucleus of heavier elements are ellipsoidal rather than spherical. Anyway, while I wait on preparing back-date posts of the aforementioned activities, I found out some interesting stuff today.

I was reading Geodesic Discrete Global Grid Systems (Kevin Sahr, Denis White, and A. Jon Kimerling. 2003. CaGIS 30(2): 121-134). I went out to search for code that does a grid <--> lat/lon conversion for Fuller’s Dymaxion icosahedron. Gray, R.W. actually wrote such code, for a flattened (2d) layout of the icosahedron, which might be useful in the future. These searches led me far afield, to the wikipedia article on Buckminister Fuller himself, where I leared that he was much better about recording events in his life than I am in mine. In fact,

Fuller documented his life every 15 minutes from 1915 to 1983, leaving 80 meters (270 feet) of journals. He called this the Dymaxion Chronofile. That is said to be the most documented human life in history.

And he also had lots of fun playing with words, and argued, quite rightly, that certain words impede clear thinking:

The words ‘down’ and ‘up,’ according to Fuller, are awkward in that they refer to a planar concept of direction inconsistent with human experience. The words ‘in’ and ‘out’ should be used instead, he argued, because they better describe an object’s relation to a gravitational center, the Earth. ‘World-around’ is a term coined by Fuller to replace worldwide. The general belief in a flat Earth died out in the Middle Ages, so using wide is an anachronism when referring to the surface of the Earth — a spheroidal surface has area and encloses a volume, but has no width. Fuller held that unthinking use of obsolete scientific ideas detracts from and misleads intuition. The terms sunsight and sunclipse are other neologisms.

What an awesome dude.

Finally, I should make note of some articles that I wasn’t able to find online, but that I think would be good to read later.

  • Gray, R. W. 1995. Exact transformation equations for Fuller’s word map. Cartographica 32(3): 17-25.
  • Gray, R. W. 1994. Fuller’s Dymaxion Map. Cartography and Geographic Information Science 21(4): 243-246.
  • Snyder, J. P. 1992. An equal-area map projection for polyhedral globes. Cartographica 29(1): 10-21.

Leave a Reply