Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Map Updated for the 21st Century

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Public Domain. R. Buckminster Fuller/ Wikipedia

In 1943 Life Magazine first showed Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Map, a projection that showed the world without the distortion of the standard Mercator projection. Mercator's map distorts significantly, making northern countries like Russia, Britain and Canada look big and dominant. The brilliance of Fuller's map is that it distorts very little, as it is really a flattened globe, cut up like the panels of a geodesic dome.

In April, The Buckminster Fuller Institute organized a competition, "calling on today’s graphic designers, visual artists, and citizen cartographers to create a new and inspiring interpretation of the Dymaxion Map." Criteria for judging were:

1. Original. Is the map innovative in some fashion? Does it challenge traditional perspectives?
2. Aesthetic. Is the map beautiful? Intriguing? Inspiring?
3. Informative. Does the map convey information, worthwhile themes or sets of data to its viewer?

11 finalists have been selected out of 300 submissions. Some of the most interesting:


© Anne-Gaelle Amiot, France

Bucky would have loved this one, a drawing created from satellite images.

Geoff Cristou

© Geoff Cristou

Geoff Cristou follows the movement of Homo Sapiens out of Africa and his own family from Europe, apparently to Toronto, Canada.

heat map

© Jan Ulrich Kossman

Jan Ulrich Kossman creates a heat map of urbanism, the brighter the area, the closer it is to a city,

nichole santucci

© Nichole Santucci

Nichole Santucci's is a beautiful woodcut.

Oskars Weilands

© Oskars Weilands + Emils Rode

This one is fascinating because Fuller's map does away with longitude lines; time zones are based on longitude, North/South divisions, so putting them back onto a Dymaxion map creates some very strange conditions.

Jonathan Robert Maj

© Jonathan Robert Maj

This is the only one that, I think, doesn't work; the Dymaxion map is land-centric, and the migration routes are in the oceans. You can't tell where any of these whales are going really, they keep running off the edge.

But they are all great choices; See all 11 at the Buckminster Fuller Institute.