Below are the panels with explanations.
Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion World Map
The visionary Fuller designed this map to help us recognize that "we're all astronauts aboard a little spaceship called Earth." This view of the Earth minimizes the distortion of size and shape. Directions and spatial relationships, however, tend to be obscured
The Eckert II Projection
One of a series of six projections developed by Max Eckert (1868-1938). This is an equal-area map with poles and central meridians at half the length of the equator. The meridians are broken straight lines. Image courtesy of U.S.G.S.
Leonardo da Vinci's Mapamundi
This "octant" map is dated approximately 1514. The sphere of the globe was divided into eight equilateral spherical triangles, each section bounded by the equator and two meridians 90% apart. This was the first map of its kind. It is noteworthy for at least two other reasons: It was one of the first world maps that used the name "America," and it was one of the first world maps to lay down a south-polar continent. Some critics believe the map was not really a work by da Vinci himself, since the accuracy and mastery in drawing are not reflective of his usual high standards. It was more likely done by some trustworthy clerk or copyist under da Vinci's employment.
Every map gives up some aspect of reality in order to present another. On this map each country is shown proportional to its population. The map gives up territory to present people. You may not be able to make out the little squares, but they are easy enough to see on the original poster. Each square represents a million people. Order this poster. Looking at the world this way is a revelation. From the perspective of population, China is the biggest country in the world! India is not far behind. For a real shock, compare Indonesia with the United States. Compare Mexico with Canada. Africa is not as big as the news sometimes makes it. Asia has half the people in the world!
Van Sant's GeoSphere
The Van Sant GeoSphere image was the first cloud-free satellite map of earth. It is presented here on a Robinson projection. The GeoSphere map is the largest selling single image of the world. It is used by numerous US federal agencies and is licensed by photo libraries worldwide. Learn more about the GeoSphere Project
Guelke's Toronto-centered Projection
Leonard Guelke created this projection to tell you exactly how far it was from anywhere on Earth to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Draw a straight line on this map from Toronto to any location and, with some simple math, you've got the real-world distance. In order to achieve this benefit, you need to sacrifice some shapes and sizes. Learn more about Guelke's Projection. Or buy a copy of SEEING THROUGH MAPS from here.
The Oxford Globe image of the earth from space
Oxford Cartographers made the Oxford Globe in 1992 in response to growing interest in world environmental issues. It is a highly detailed relief model of the earth with colors depicting vegetation and desert, compiled from a two-year sequence of satellite imagery. This overcomes the seasonal bias you see from snapshot satellite images which can show dramatically different scenes from summer to winter. Available (also with names and boundaries added) from Oxford Cartographers.
Goode's HomolosineOn the Van Sant image the world appears smooth and whole. On this image by John Paul Goode, the world seems cut into sections. Which seems more realistic to you? The Van Sant image we used is represented on a Robinson projection, while the Goode Homolosine is an equal-area projection. Compare the portrayal of shapes and sizes. What does the Van Sant give up for the sense of continuity? What does the Goode gain by giving up the sense of continuity?