Here is a planetary display form I’ve made for mapping worlds in science fiction games.
This map uses a “buckyball” geometry, a truncated icosahedron with hexagonal and pentagonal sections, but instead of filling it with hexes, it has been laid out with lines of latitude and longitude. The major latitude lines are in 10 degree steps, with further subdivision into 2.5 degree sub-steps, and the major longitude lines are in 18 degree steps (which neatly works with the pentagonal division of the ball). Longitude lines are shown at 4.5 degrees at the equator, extending to 50 degrees latitude, and then 9 degrees between 50 and 70 degrees latitude.
These quadrants created with this mapping are not all equal, but it does provide a ready way to identify a location anywhere on the surface, and they provide a sufficiently fine-grained division of the planet to allow for distinctions of the different areas.
Part of the inspiration for this was another wonderful “buckyball” planetary display done by Ronald Stepp which he posted on G+ recently. But in his map, each face is covered with a hex grid (which he warps to fit the pentagonal sections in a most interesting way). One of the comments asked about a way to identify the small hexes for mapping and note making purposes, and that got me thinking about latitude and longitude.
It’s pretty apparent to me that this could be cut out and turned into a 3D object quite easily. But what seems easy to me isn’t necessarily easy for everyone, so if I need to put together a tutorial for that, that’s something else that could be done.
There will be revisions to this, and if you have suggestions, we’ll be glad to look at them and see about incorporating them into an update. There could also be a spin off variant that is more oriented for fantasy rather than SF games.
We’re also probably going to have a very large version (maybe 24″ x 36″ or so) that we’ll have to sell direct, rather than being able to distribute through DriveThru. There will be an announcement about that when that is further underway.