Buckminster Fuller Raleigh Edition Dymaxion Map
Fuller's writings make it clear that the map’s primary function was to allow people to view all of the major land masses without any of the maps borders passing through, and therefore dividing, the major land masses. Fuller was looking for a way to show the land areas without grossly distorting the continent's relative size or their shapes. That is, he wanted to display Africa and Greenland, say, in such a way that showed their relative sizes correctly, without shape distortion. Fuller said he was after visual appearance. Africa on the plane map should visually look like, and therefore be easily identifiable as, Africa on the world sphere.
The late R. Buckminster Fuller had a remarkable career as an inventor, architect, engineer, mathematician, designer, cartographer, writer, theorist, poet, and cosmologist. Many people would argue that life might be vastly improved if his designs were better known and implemented. In one of his most widely known quotes he argues, "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. His legacy is maintained through the Buckminster Fuller Institute (see http://bfi.org/)
NOTE: The Dymaxion map is included in the Equal Area section of our web site because Fuller's motivation was, in part, to create an image that minimized the distortion of both size and shape. At the time he created his map Fuller did not know how to reach an equal-area solution. While he worked closely with cartographer Shoji Sadao, between them they did not have access the cartographic tools to achieve a mathematically precise equal area map projection. Instead their process focused on mapping the sphere of the Earth onto 20 equilateral triangles. I have been assured by map projections expert, daan Strebe, that while the challenge of making Fuller's map into an equal area one is a formidable task...it is quite possible with the cartographic software and mathematical tools available today. Strebe has also noted that the end result of a precisely equal area Dymaxion map would not look significantly different to the casual observer. Thus, perhaps to the chagrin of professional cartographers, we have taken the liberty of including the Dymaxion in our section of Equal Area Maps.