0977: "Map Projections"

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Re: Map Projections

Postby Faranya » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:02 am UTC

XRayA4T wrote:Why is it upside-down? Up on a planet is a purely arbitrary choice. As someone living in the southern hemisphere why should my country always be on the bottom?


Because the majority of the world's landmass is north of the equator, people tend to look at the top of a page first, and people tend to be looking at a map to investigate landmass.
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:11 am UTC

Pacific-centered reverse transverse Mercator, purely for aesthetic reasons. It's nice having that solid base of land at the bottom, two branches of it jutting up like pillars on either side, and Australia tossed up in the middle, Indonesia its contrail as it arcs away from south Asia...
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby joedkins » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:16 am UTC

I saw a world map once, upside down, with Australia prominent at the top, and everything else (including America) wound the edges. Pinned up by the desk of an Australian programmer, naturally... But it did make me think.
One of the relevant factors of world maps is the Greenwich meridian which goes through London rather than Paris as Britain won that argument. And Mecator makes Britain look big and the US look small, which is no bad thing. (What do you mean, I must be British? I haven't mentioned how maps are coloured...)
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Re: Map Projections

Postby Jonathan SCE » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:53 am UTC

Vnend wrote:Of course, what I'd really like is a globe linked to google maps so it can update itself for night and day and other changes. Maybe link it into the weather satellite system so it can display the cloud cover in near real time too. Have it sync up with my laptop/tablet so I can define a small area on it and have it show up there zoomable.

Here is a commercial version of a digital globe, they make a 16" globe:
http://www.globalimagination.com/products.html

and here is a DIY version:
http://www.howtogeek.com/95595/diy-3d-projector-creates-snow-globe-like-data-projections/

On a related note, here is a wallpaper that updates with current cloud cover and day/night shadow.
http://codefromthe70s.org/desktopearth_dl.aspx
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby Michael.K » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:58 am UTC

North-is-up maps can implant assumptions without them (all) being cultural assumptions.

I lived in Vancouver for a few months, south of False Creek. (It's no 'creek', more of an inlet or fjord.) Well, the land slopes down towards the water, obviously, which meant that North was literally Down and South was Up. Messed me up for weeks.
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby kasmeneo » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:07 pm UTC

Wow, I never heard about Dymaxion before, but I think it's really cool.
And I do have several pairs of Nike Air Rifts, if that counts as shoes with toes.
It's cooler up here.
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby kasmeneo » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:17 pm UTC

opal wrote: i realised in a state of shock, that maps are very much, like history, made by those in power, and not to be trusted.


Lots of truth in that one. And the whole rectangular, north-up stuff is just convention... after all many
medieval maps were EAST up. That's where the word ORIENTation comes from.
It's cooler up here.
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby Iulus Cofield » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:32 pm UTC

kasmeneo wrote:
opal wrote: i realised in a state of shock, that maps are very much, like history, made by those in power, and not to be trusted.


Lots of truth in that one. And the whole rectangular, north-up stuff is just convention... after all many
medieval maps were EAST up. That's where the word ORIENTation comes from.


Actually, from three minutes of research, it looks like "orientation" was coined in the mid 19th c. and was used to describe building churches (and especially their altars) that they faced towards the east. Something to do with the importance of the sun.
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby chrth » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:42 pm UTC

My favorite projection:

Image

Tolkien's quote:
“The action of the story takes place in the North-West of ‘Middle-earth’, equivalent in latitude to the coastlands of Europe and the north shores of the Mediterranean (…) If Hobbiton and Rivendell are taken (as intended) to be about the latitude of Oxford, then Minas Tirith, 600 miles south, is at about the latitude of Florence. The Mouths of Anduin and the ancient city of Pelargir are at about the latitude of ancient Troy.”
Also, in one of the letters he refers to Rome as Minas Tirith.
I also once upon a time found an anglo-saxon dictionary online that equated "Haradwaith" to "Ethiopian" ... however, I could not tell if the source had been corrupted so I don't cite it.

PS: Love the serious map projection discussion
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby Vir4030 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:43 pm UTC

I resent having XML and Dvorak tied together in this manner. I demand a retraction.
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby Game_boy » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:44 pm UTC

jpk wrote: Might be "I'm really into this obscure meme that nobody else is ever going to care about, but I'm going to make it my life so I have something that makes me feel cool and different and a little bit odd, but doesn't actually involve being gay because, well, I'm just not comfortable with that, but I think that gays have a knack for getting chicks, so maybe I can work with this... hey, ponies!". Might be whatever. But it's all affectation. Nobody cares about "My Little Pony", they care about being seen as the guy who cares about "My Little Pony". Nobody cares about map projections, but it's a nice way to lengthen your geek-peen a little. If you were actually the person you're pretending to be, you wouldn't be fronting "I know all about map projections", you'd be off doing whatever it is you do with maps, and you wouldn't be telling the world about your pony fixation


It is ON now.

I see you feel safe saying ponies is something people only like to be cool and different. But you are wrong, there are people who sincerely believe it is of high artistic value, and don't have to share that with anyone else to be validated.

In making this comic Randall is trying to be funny. It'd be hard to conclude he actually thinks all people who care about map projections are wasting their time. But your analogy fails at getting that across. You have chosen to make a big assumption about something just from looking at its exterior and your own cultural biases.

Ponies isn't important of course. But thinking entire bodies of art or fields of interest (like map projection) are insincere and worthless is very dangerous; you will dismiss things you actually may like or enjoy.

(Also could you explain, out of pure sociological interest on my part, why ponies was the first thing you thought of when looking for an example of the kind of fanbase you describe?)
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby Bromskloss » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:48 pm UTC

Oh, well... You'll inevitably introduce inaccuracies in one aspect or another as soon as you try to paint the surface of Earth on a sphere.

Btw, now that it has been mentioned here, I like the idea of east or west up. I'm going for that from now on. Planetariums would be more impractical to orient that way, though.
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Postby finlay » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:07 pm UTC

I quite like this projection:
http://strangemaps.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/afrasia_watershed_2.jpg

Also out of the ones that Randall posted I most like the Equirectangular, because I like to invent worlds and it is the easiest one to work with in that sense – although you have to be really careful about pinching at the poles. And then to actually view it I'd switch to an equal-area projection, and a good one that's worked for me is the Mollweide, which wasn't mentioned. It's a bit like the one that Nat Geo uses, but it's a proper oval shape.

Also, while I tend to disagree out of hand with claims that people think the northern hemisphere or anything to the north of something else is "better" because it's "up", I have sort of experienced the other thing someone mentioned: I live in Edinburgh, where the high ground is to the south and the low ground/sea is to the north, and I will sometimes think "up" for south and confuse myself. Or maybe it is that I think the south is better and therefore should be "up"/"north" - who knows? :P
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby Lazar » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:08 pm UTC

The European Dark Ages gave us the T and O map, in which the world's landmasses are divided by a T-shaped amalgamation of the Mediterranean, the Nile and the Don, with east on top and Jerusalem in the center.
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby Felstaff » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:10 pm UTC

kasmeneo wrote:
opal wrote: i realised in a state of shock, that maps are very much, like history, made by those in power, and not to be trusted.


Lots of truth in that one. And the whole rectangular, north-up stuff is just convention... after all many
medieval maps were EAST up. That's where the word ORIENTation comes from.

Only religious beatus maps, because Jerusalem was east, and the centre of all things Christian. These kind of maps were mainly symbolic, and not geographically accurate, nor intended to be.

The 'North is Up' convention started many centuries before that. Wikipedia tells me Ptolemy, the dude who couldn't decide if he was Egyptian, Greek, or Roman, made the first entire map of the world in the second century, and it was all pointing northwards.
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby ooloi » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:15 pm UTC

Map resolution (I'm quoting from multiple sources):

WHEREAS, the earth is round with a coordinate system composed entirely of circles, and

WHEREAS, flat world maps are more useful than globe maps, but flattening the globe surface necessarily greatly changes the appearance of Earth's features and coordinate systems, and

WHEREAS, world maps have a powerful and lasting effect on people's impressions of the shapes and sizes of lands and seas, their arrangement, and the nature of the coordinate system, and

WHEREAS, frequently seeing a greatly distorted map tends to make it "look right,"

THEREFORE, we strongly urge book and map publishers, the media and government agencies to cease using rectangular world maps for general purposes or artistic displays. Such maps promote serious, erroneous conceptions by severely distorting large sections of the world, by showing the round Earth as having straight edges and sharp corners, by representing most distances and direct routes incorrectly, and by portraying the circular coordinate system as a squared grid. The most widely displayed rectangular world map is the Mercator (in fact a navigational diagram devised for nautical charts), but other rectangular world maps proposed as replacements for the Mercator also display a greatly distorted image of the spherical Earth.

personally I want a holographic sphere with infinite zoom. Though at parties I tend to revert to Steven Wright and just say "I have a 1-to-1 map of the earth, wanna see it?".
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby ctsketch » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:22 pm UTC

Why get worked up over which distortion to pick? They're all useful if you understand them, and deceptive if you don't, and obviously Randall knows this, so why is he pretending to be a stupid pretentious ass?
And why smirk at the idea of an actual globe? How does that fit into his posturing?


Its called a comic.....pull the stick out
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representing for MOLLWEIDE!

Postby Frankie » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:22 pm UTC

finlay wrote:Also out of the ones that Randall posted I most like the Equirectangular, because I like to invent worlds and it is the easiest one to work with in that sense – although you have to be really careful about pinching at the poles. And then to actually view it I'd switch to an equal-area projection, and a good one that's worked for me is the Mollweide, which wasn't mentioned. It's a bit like the one that Nat Geo uses, but it's a proper oval shape.

Those are my preferences exactly. Mollweide is a good compromise for visualizing a sphere. Hammer projection is also acceptable; the elliptical border is key to my aesthetic needs. But Equirectangular is obviously useful when graphing coordinate data.

Edit: I also like this interrupted Mollweide; it halves the angular distortion:
Image
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby infinitera » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:22 pm UTC

Man. August Epicycloidal doesn't get any respect!

But, if my favorite doesn't appear, I look for Mollweide, which also doesn't get a mention. :(
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby faustop » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:58 pm UTC

Any one knows where I can buy a poster of the Waterman Butterfly projection styled as an old map (like all brown-ish, with sea-monsters, “here be dragons”, etc)?
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby zh84 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:02 pm UTC

I loved this. It is a hobby of mine. I was also disappointed that Randall didn't list the Mollweide projection, but I get to be the first who promotes the (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werner_projection) Werner cordiform projection, which I've loved for many years. It's equal-area and gives a good idea of the shapes of North America, Antarctica, Europe, Africa and Asia, though South America and Australia are distorted.
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby charliechoo » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:06 pm UTC

I disagree with both Djehutynakht's arguments: "the first is that it's an upside down map and the second because it's an America-Centric Map" First, your parochial projection of upside-down is purely arbritrary and favors us in the north. Second, it all depends on which projection is used. Try putting Africa in the center. Syracuse Cultural Workers (no affiliation) offers such an upside-down map, with thumbnails of the other most common projections: http://syracuseculturalworkers.com/poster-upside-down-world-map
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Re: Map Projections

Postby lesmith11 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:19 pm UTC

ctrlburn wrote:

What does it mean when you like the "South Up Map"?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reversed_map
I do not own one of these because they were hideously expensive.
So not having one means I am cheap.


I don't know if anyone already mentioned this...but that's not a type of projection
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby project2051 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:30 pm UTC

The Gall-Peters map supports global warming as you can see South America and Africa are melting and starting to sag quite a bit.

And as far as the north/south up thing just wait until the poles switch, that should take care of the problem for you. :P
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Re: Map Projections

Postby marsman57 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:32 pm UTC

ctrlburn wrote:What does it mean when you like the "South Up Map"?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reversed_map
I do not own one of these because they were hideously expensive.
So not having one means I am cheap.


I.... this is a joke right?


Why doesn't anyone else seem to think this comic was terrible? It mentions the Kavrayskiy map but has no picture of it. There is no Azimuthal equidistant projection map, and really the whole thing is just an excuse to rail against Gall-Peters, something that is really not worth caring about.
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby eran_rathan » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:37 pm UTC

As a surveyor, photogrammetrist and GIS professional, I approve of this comic.

P.S. I hate Mercator.
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby xkcdreg » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:57 pm UTC

Broke down and registered to also put my support behind van Wijk's Geographically Aligned Myriahedral maps which are awesome enough to deserve their own entire comic. @Nolari @Meyermagic : glad there more supporters out there!

Of the choices presented I am firmly in the Peirce Quincuncial camp. Everything that man did was brilliant.
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby xkcdreg » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:03 pm UTC

I would also like to see a whole earth projection based on the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabula_Peutingeriana">Tabula Peutingeriana</a>.
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Re: Map Projections

Postby Felstaff » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:15 pm UTC

marsman57 wrote:and really the whole thing is just an excuse to rail against Gall-Peters a bunch of maps, something that is really not worth caring about.
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby Fire Brns » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:49 pm UTC

three thingss I want to cover:

bytbox wrote:EDIT: performing the reverse operation from that implicit in the comic, I've determined that my favorite is "Goode Homolosine" (which I've actually seen before, and liked!). "You think we wouldn't have so many problems if we'd just elect /normal/ people to congress instead of politicians" - totally.
I was doing your method too and I agree but I don't think any "normal" or "practical" people use this map...

JPK hates bronies,
Love and tolerate him to death.

And the "south is up map" implies the Earth orbits the sun clockwise corresponding to ...clocks... which would be a massive coincidence unless you southies reverse your anologues to correct this problem.
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Re: Map Projections

Postby Frankie » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:50 pm UTC

ctrlburn wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reversed_map
I do not own one of these because they were hideously expensive.
So not having one means I am cheap.

If you like south-up maps, then you should love a fully-corrective Pacific-centered map.
This one is only $9; now you can shatter people's cultural fixations on the cheap! :D
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby dp2 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:51 pm UTC

Looks like Randall picked up Maphead when it came out.
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby CadetMKultra » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:53 pm UTC

As a professional navigator and an officer in the Merchant Marine, I think you've given short shrift to the Mercator projection. Where's the gnomonic?
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby TNLNYC » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:55 pm UTC

The only beef I have with this one is that the Van Der Grinten just intuitively feels more correct. Not just as a circle but revealing the mass that the south pole is (I think most other projections fail to convey that)

But ultimately, any projections that fails to include "here be dragons" in it seems to fail in some way. :D
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby embolalia » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:14 pm UTC

The alt-text made me spew root beer out my nose. Screw you, Randall.
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby NiteClerk » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:25 pm UTC

This reminds me of when one of my daughters was about 5 years old. We were looking at a globe for undiscovered islands. After about 5 minutes she figured out the contradiction of the search.


My favorite map is from around 1910. A lot less fewer countries to keep track of. :)

http://www.emersonkent.com/map_archive/world_map_1910.htm
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby djgussin » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:28 pm UTC

Nice little poem about the various world maps:

http://watermanpolyhedron.com/worldmap.html
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby Ctorpy » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:39 pm UTC

Where I work the buildings are named after map projections and the first thing I noticed is it's missing Albers and Lambert. What if one of those is my favorite?
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby Sir_Read-a-Lot » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:39 pm UTC

My favorite map is this one.

(true, chrth got there before me, but he didn't use the original version).
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Re: 0977: "Map Projections"

Postby Karilyn » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:49 pm UTC

AvatarIII wrote:My favourite to look at, probably because it's so familiar, is the Robinson
Although having a look on wikipedia I found the Cahill Butterfly, which I prefer over the Waterman Butterfly
upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/06/Cahill_Butterfly_Map.jpg
also the Werner Projection that looks like a love-heart (awww)

I guess I'm also quite partial to the Goode homolosine
I don't really like any one that makes Greenland enormous, or ones that don't bother with the Antarctic. or make the equatorial continents too spindly.


Goode Homolosine is actually my favorite too. And Randal gave a surprisingly accurate description of me. GOOMHR?

I'm not sure but the Waterman Butterfly might be my new favorite now though; it mostly does the same thing but it's prettier. I don't think it'll unseat the Goode Homolosine though, for pure simplicity, visual accuracy, and ease of reassembly. I also express an interest in Dymaxion, and similar maps, because I'm amused by how close the continents are to each other at the North Pole, and how most map projections rarely exhibit this trait. As a rule I like projections which when I look at them, I realize something new about the way that continents/countries relate to each others location (such as the linear layout of Dymaxion). Maps centered on the Pacific can be pretty cool. We get so used to seeing the maps Atlantic centered all the time. Same with Upside-down maps.

Giant Greenland, missing Antarctica, or other blatantly inaccurate representations annoy me too.

Pfhorrest wrote:Pacific-centered reverse transverse Mercator, purely for aesthetic reasons. It's nice having that solid base of land at the bottom, two branches of it jutting up like pillars on either side, and Australia tossed up in the middle, Indonesia its contrail as it arcs away from south Asia...


I want a link :P
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