So I need to create a world map using only hexagons. I have an svg of every country on earth that I got from QGIS. Basically, I need to do what I did with China (above) to every single country.

Above I did it manually (and messily) in Photoshop to illustrate my intent. I'd rather not do it this way for the whole world because there are a ton of countries, but I will if I have to.

So my question is this: Is there a way to take my shape file and some how restrict the paths to a hexagonal grid, thus saving me the mountain of hours it would take to do it manually?

I'm working in Illustrator CC, but if there's a better option I'm all ears.

I've never really done a project like this before, so I'm really excited to get started, but the sooner it's finished the better. I'll continue to search for a solution, but I'm kind of at a loss for where to look. I'm also not sure exactly if the tags I put on this question are the best suited for it, so if you have a better one, please let me know.

  • what is your current method?
    – Vincent
    Jan 9, 2016 at 21:33
  • For the above example, I just needed something fast. So I manually duplicated a bunch of hexagons around the outline of china by eye, then merged them. If I were to start for real right now, I'd make a big ass grid of hexagons, overlay the world map, then select out groups that line up with each country. This way they'd all be on the same grid at least. Jan 9, 2016 at 21:35
  • Don't know if you'd be open to using other software, but have you tried Hexels (marmoset.co/hexels)? I'm not sure if you just needed a 2D image but it does have a hexagonal grid. Feb 11, 2016 at 16:35
  • OOoooo that looks awesome! I'm definitely gonna check it out. Feb 12, 2016 at 17:37

1 Answer 1


Well, though challenge.

First of all, let me tell you that I'm not at my computer so I can't test the suggestion I'll give you.

To achieve this I would make a pattern of hexagons big enough to cover all the countries in the world map. Make sure you get the hexagon size right because it would be difficult to edit afterwards.

After making the patten, I would cover the world map with those hexagons and then, somehow, use the country actual shape to select the hexagons that are right beneath the shape... I'm not actually sure how that is done but there might be a way.

Please note that it's near impossible to get a good representation of some countries because the size of them will vary a lot compared to China (which is pretty big).

  • Thanks, that sounds like a good option. Though, I think I'll probably do it several times at different resolutions so I can have the option to zoom in on regions. Which... will make this take even longer. ;_; Oh well. Jan 13, 2016 at 19:35
  • Another option would be to create brush stroke pattern in Illustrator. If you figure out how they work I think they could solve your problem. You can learn more about it on this link. helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/how-to/… Imagine how it could solve your problem. Please keep in mind that brush stroke patterns are always editable so you could change resolution back and forth as many times as you want.
    – Geiras
    Jan 13, 2016 at 23:12
  • That's an interesting idea, Geiras. It would certainly be useful to be able to simply trace out a country's shape whenever I need it. I'll definitely look into that. I'll post here if it works. Jan 15, 2016 at 1:23
  • Good.. If it works, that would be awesome. Let me know of your progress... Good luck...
    – Geiras
    Jan 15, 2016 at 8:54

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