What Shape is the Ocean? What Shape is the Atmosphere? world maps in the making

Authors: Chuck Clark*, Architect
Topics: Global Change, Oceanography, Earth Science
Keywords: projection cartography, climate change, oceanography, meteorology, world maps constant-scale natural boundaries
Session Type: Virtual Poster
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 51
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Today, scientifically useful answers are possible with a technological innovation I have developed called constant-scale natural boundary projection. First steps in this direction were taken in the last century by A.F. Spilhaus and J.P. Snyder with their invention of world maps with natural boundaries. They established that such maps have an advantage in principle over other maps, and voiced the idea of global maps edged by continental divides. Had they been able to accomplish this, they could have generated conceptually complete shapes for the ocean. Their method, like other traditional approaches, evolved from algebraic abstractions of projection geometry and developable surfaces. My method abandons these Mercatorian sheet-goods paradigms in favor of a simpler model: a 1-dimensional, constant-scale tree defining the 2-sheet interruption. This nudges the mathematics from geometry toward topology, with liberty to exclude irrelevant components and include appropriate—oftentimes critical—components at the map’s edge. With constant-scale natural boundary method, I present a continuum of ocean shapes of greater proportional fidelity and unity than achievable via convention, and voice the idea of a physically determinative shape of the atmosphere, its dynamism expressed by a time-variable map-edge animated by the fluid ridges of meteorological topography. We need better maps because it makes the truth more interesting, more able to inspire the global cooperation needed to forecast, and mitigate climate change. We understand local and regional phenomena well but we lack the big picture. These maps function as planetary floor plans, proportionally accurate and readable even at the map edge.

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