Japanese architect Hajime Narukawa claims to have tackled a centuries-old problem – how to draw an oblate spheroid Earth on a flat plane.
He claims the above map, called the AuthaGraph World Map, achieves this task.
The projection, first created in 1999, frames the world’s physical components in a 2D rectangle, attempting to represent their relative sizes as accurately as possible.
It does so by dividing the world into 96 triangles, making it a tetrahedron, then unfolding it to become a rectangle.
Unlike the traditional Mercator map, made in the 16th century, which overstates the size of northern areas like Greenland and minimizes that of central areas like Africa, the AuthaGraph World Map retains parity of area to a 3D projection.
The projection recently won the 2016 good design grand award in Japan, an awards evening founded in 1957 by the Japanese ministry of international trade and industry.
Narukawa also gave a Ted talk on his projection in 2011:
You can buy a globe version of the map, which you can dismantle, from Alexcious, though they will set you back roughly £40.
Also, because we love it so much, here’s a clip from one of our favourite West Wing scenes, which explains why map projections are important, and how they can distort our world: