Great moments in visualization

I was examining some data, and these surprisingly cool looking images popped out. I'll bet you can't guess what this is. But go ahead, give it a try!


Well it's from a screen saver, of course, specifically Dymaxion Map.

These images are maps translating Equirectangular coordinates (longitude × latitude) to XY coordinates on a flat image containing the triangles of the traditional Dymaxion projection. Input XY are the pixel positions on the input Equirectangular image; output XY coordinates for the Dymaxion image are packed into the RGBA color values at 16 bits each, though I had to delete the alpha channel (and thus the top 8 bits of Y) to make anything show up. The two images represent the same mapping, but the second one is at half the resolution of the first: the colors and shapes are different because the coordinate space is smaller, and smaller values affect the coloration.

It's not a particularly useful visualization -- it clarifies nothing -- but it looks cool.

Tags: , ,

31 Responses:

  1. C8 says:

    Timezones? Or some sort of difference between timezone-time and sundial-time. It is very pretty though, I want to see it move.

    • Igelau says:

      The centerpiece is sunrise/sunset. Imposed on top of it is the cycle of moonrise/moonset, and the gradient reflects the phase of the moon.

  2. zadtheinhaler says:

    While it clearly delineates between daylight and night-time, the other bits are weather/jet-stream related.

  3. Dan says:

    Some sort of satellite coverage info, along with the terminator map?

    • Philip Guenther says:

      Some of the chunks look like eclipse coverage, with third/fourth contact or similar delineated as the right edge on that triangle in the "south east pacific"

    • Steve Allen says:

      The terminator-like shape prompted me to map one onto a sphere. It is only terminator-like, and the result evokes nothing.

  4. Ham Monger says:

    Top and side views of teeth?

  5. bibulb says:

    i've seen enough flowfazer to know where this is going

    (also, flowfazer on a mac plus was spectacularly unspectacular. so glad I had a buddy with a iicx.)

  6. Marcos Dione says:

    A snake and a dog sleeping on the floor, except the dog is also the snake.

  7. JohnB says:

    Power usage? Something on a timer overlaid with more organic usage when business/activity spikes. One graph is a busy day, one a quieter day.

  8. Rorschy says:

    Dog. Dog with head split in half.

  9. Michael says:

    Looks like an equirectangular projection of something spherical, but I can't tell what the something is.

  10. Soupdragon says:

    Is it the thing that, when you finally understand it, turns you into a vampire?

  11. This? Why, I can make a hat or a brooch or a pterodactyl...

  12. Thomas Lord says:

    Building occupancy overlaid with with something something HVAC?

  13. MattyJ says:

    Pirate ship. You have to look through it and unfocus.

  14. Igelau says:

    Entries in your forthcoming NFT collection: the Bored Hacker Plot Club and Lounge!

  15. Lloyd says:

    Antidazzle is so in right now.

  16. Lloyd says:

    "The primary object of my invention is the provision of an apparatus for the creation of illusory efiects calculated to impress the subject ..." -- Previously.

  17. thielges says:

    Why of course the first is a chart of Edward Tufte’s neckwear choices over a year. 52 weeks along the X axis and 7 days of the week along the Y. The second chart is the same, except only for bow ties.

    Oh wait. I was wrong. The second chart is for only cravats. Definitely cravats.

  18. noname.c says:

    Going by the tags, i'm guessing it has something to do with xscreensaver.
    Only thing is which program is the key, since there's about a 100+ screensavers in the collection.
    It wouldn't be JWZ-like to not do some crazy stuff with the xscreensaver's any program's settings.
    Now to guess which screensaver is being run.

  19. Jeff Bell says:

    It's the opening theme to Coupling?

  20. julius yang says:

    Red and blue ... it's politics isn't it?

  21. Jon says:

    It’s funny, how the HerpDerp button apparently does not remove any hints.

    @jwz.. are you going to enlighten us? :-)

  22. arek says:

    Looks like a spectrum gradient in the midst of color space conversion gone awry.

  23. Robert says:

    As a BSEE, I see a band-pass filter there, but it's been so long since I've thought about such things that I get no further.

  24. C says:

    I think it's like the ocean, pink is the water and blue is the waves.

  25. jwz says:

    (Spoiler alert, post updated.)

  26. julius yang says:

    Thanks for resolving the mystery -- I kept checking back to see what this was!

  • Previously