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Category Archives: mathmap

In November I went on a city break to Berlin with some old school friends. We only had a couple of days but managed to cram in culture and hedonism in fairly large measures – it seems Berlin is pretty good for both of these. First up is the gang outside Berlin Cathedral:

Next we have Brandenberg Gate. We just missed him, but new F1 world champ Sebastian Vettel had just had some kind of celebratory doughnut session right next door and had left his skid marks all over the place.

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, or Holocaust Memorial, is a striking and somber reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust. It consists of a 19,000 square metre site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs arranged in a grid pattern. There is a museum underneath the memorial.

Next we headed to an exhibition about Hitler at the German Historic Museum. Here’s the equirectangular panorama. I made the planet from it using Mathmap. Reminiscent of the Great Court in the British Museum.

So that was Saturday afternoon. Saturday night we headed to Berghain, “quite possibly the current world capital of techno”. Highly recommended but strictly no cameras.


A few weeks back, Yuv posted a how-to on MathMap, a Gimp plugin that allows distortion of images specified in a simple programming language. Yuv’s instruction on compiling from source work fine but you can also grab .deb and .rpm binaries from the MathMap homepage. What made me want to try MathMap was this image I found on FlickR, generated using the Pierce Quincuncial projection – a conformal map projection that presents a sphere as a square. It also has the mind bending recursive Droste effect for maximum weirdness. If you want to play with this projection, copy and paste the script from here. I used fpsurgeon’s version, though I had to comment out two lines at the end to get it to wrap properly (starting imagex= and imagey=).

To get started, load up an equirectangular panorama (aspect ratio must be 2:1) then go to Filters -> Generic -> MathMap and paste in the Quincuncial script. By setting imageH to 1, adjusting the number of tiles and equator level, I quickly came up with this (click for a bigger version).


This one works quite well with multiple tiles as they seem to be interconnected by the Millennium bridge.


Click ‘Drostify’ to apply the Escher-esque effect to the tiles. ‘DrosteP1’ is the number of  strands spiraling in, and ‘DrosteP2’ is the number of repetitions of the basic element per cycle. The effect of the Quincuncial projection is lost a little in this image of Brighton Pier but the Droste effect is fairly insane.


And by playing around with some of the other options you can really go to town. These effects are all so abstract that the problem is knowing when to stop tweaking – it really is quite addictive. Here’s St. Paul’s Cathedral disappearing into a vortex.