Home > GIS > Four color conundrums

Four color conundrums


We all have our little ways to make office life a little bit more entertaining – we can’t all work at Google. Some folks collect Dilbert cartoons, channeling Andy Dick’s Matthew from NewsRadio (still one of my favorites); I try to apply the four color problem to my whiteboard. It’s a challenge since it’s not like I plan out the board. It is by nature ephemeral, until I take a picture. But that’s part of the fun, adding new chunks in a way that’s meaningful to whatever the project at hand is while trying to keep the colors separate. 

trying to solve the map problem

trying to solve the map problem

This one worked pretty well, I think. For anyone who doesn’t know, the four color problem refers to the idea that, no matter how complicated your polygon map is, the polygons can be symbolized with as few as four colors without polygons with the same color touching. It took over 150 years to prove that four colors was all you needed –  Four Colors Suffice (Wilson) has a very thorough discussion of the problem and the history. Lots of fun illustrations and pictures of goofy old white guys. Good times all around.

%d bloggers like this: