This Wacky World Map Just Won Japan's Biggest Design Award

Keio University Graduate School of Media and Governance Narukawa Laboratory (CC BY-ND 2.1 JP)

The centuries-old Mercator projection is a notoriously inaccurate world map. For one thing, Greenland isn’t the massive land mass as shown on the map. But a new map by artist and architect Hajime Narukawa offers what’s possibly the most proportional map we’ve ever seen.


You can print out and fold the map, so you can have your own hyper proportional paper globe. The thing that makes this map truly innovative is that when you transfer it from a 3D globe to a 2D map, the land and water proportions stay the same. That, as well as the fact that the map can be folded and fits perfectly together helped Narukawa’s map design win the coveted Japanese Good Design Award.

“The map can be tessellated without visible seams,” the Good Design Award description reads. “Thus the [Narukawa] world map provides an advanced precise perspective of our planet.”

The map isn’t totally perfect, but it’s pretty damn close. “The map need a further step to increase a number of subdivision for improving its accuracy to be officially called an area-equal map,” the Good Design Award description reads. This seems like a relatively easy adjustment, since Narukawa’s design would inherently become more accurate if the map is broken up into smaller chunks.

And lucky for you, Narukawa’s design could grace your home. Posters and globes of this map are on sale now.



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William Turton

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