Our 20th instalment of the (optional.is) Quarterly Newsletter.
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It's finally over!

REYKJAVIK 0216Q4: I think I can speak for most people that we're glad 02016 is over. There have certainly been some highs and lows this year. We're looking forward to 02017, getting focused and moving forwards.

This newsletter is a bit longer than normal. There were several major themes for us in 02016; Color, Time and Location. This is a small curated list of some of the Location based links, articles and ideas we found.

What is the Roundest Country?

Gonzalo Ciruelos asked himself this question, but unlike most of us, he wrote some code to figure it all out.

Find out the top 3 roundest countries

Tree Mountain - A living monument

Agnes Denes created a mountain in Finland with 11,000 trees planted in a Fibonacci sequence reminiscent of a sunflower.

Projection Problems

Most people couldn't name more than 1 map projection, let alone tell you the short-comings of the various different methods. Above is the common Mercator Projection without cropping-off most of Antarctica. The website metrocosm.com/mercator/ has a great interactive map which bends and illustrates the different projection problems.

Even XKCD pokes fun at all different projects with "What your favorite map projection says about you". (We're Probably more Equirectangular projection)
* Did you know that Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Map Project is actually patented?

Project for Elevation with Obstructed Sight Lines

In 01972, the artist Alice Aycock created a hypothetical work of a hill to which you could never see the real top. From the start, each accent only gave you a glimpse of the next peak rather than your final goal. A cruel, yet fascinating affect of geometry, line of sight and location.

Geoff Manaugh has a much longer write-up at BLDGBLOG titled: The Totality That Remains Invisible.

Dashbones, Red Days and Triagemail are our iOS apps to help be productive.

Join Geometry Club

Geometry Club is an Instagram based project by Dave Mullen that collects architectural photographs using two specific guidelines:

– Your apex needs to be aligned centrally on both the X and Y axis.
– Edges should fall off the image at the same point, symmetrically.

The Jefferson Grid

After the Revolutionary War in the US, president Thomas Jefferson wanted to expand the country. To make it as easy as possible to survey, coördinate and distribute the land, the country was cut into 1 mile squares. Much of which is still visible to this day in our choice of roads, buildings and town planning.

the.jefferson.grid on Instagram

There's a problem with the grid!

When Jefferson started to plan US expansion, he didn't count on the curvature of the Earth to mess things up!
Photographer Gerco de Ruijter's new project explores the places where our highway system goes astray, thanks to the challenges of imposing a rectilinear grid onto the spherical surface of the planet.

Read more about Why Rural Roads Sometimes Have Mysterious Detours.
World Beat Music is an experimental musical score to create a map out of notes, rests, staves and other symbols. You can actually listen to the results.
Globes used to be made by hand in a process that takes much longer than you think. As a child, I had a globe and spinning it around, looking at all the countries, colors and foreign lands was always exciting. In all those years, never once had I thought about its creation.

There are still a few hand-made globe makers out there. Bellerby and Co. is one of them.

They have an amazing instragrm account of their process.

Additional Reading