Japan’s Good Design Awards have been announced for 2016, and the Grand Award has gone to an unusual map. The AuthaGraph World Map “is made by equally dividing a spherical surface into 96 triangles, transferring it to a tetrahedron while maintaining areas proportions and unfolding it to be a rectangle.” Follow that? Sphere to tetrahedron to rectangle.
The brainchild of designer Hajime Narukawa, the AuthaGraph map was first released in 2010. What’s it for? In many ways it’s sort of a Japanese Peters projection: it aims to maintain the relative sizes of the continents. From the page selling the map outside Japan:
Every world map that has been invented since the Mercator Projection was first revealed in 1569 can be divided into two groups. One group fits the world into a rectangle by distorting the continents. The other group corrects the distortion, but at the cost of the rectangular shape. This is what drove Narukawa to create a map which is rectangular like the Mercator Projection map, and yet correctly projects the continents like the Dyxmaxion Map (revealed in 1946).