I'm looking to make a geodesic hexagonal global grid based on a icosahedron. Such a grid would need to have 12 pentagons in it as well to be able to fit a sphere.

I know mmqgis can generate grids, but these grids are plain flat grids, not geodesic ones, and they do not map to a sphere without extreme distortion, which I'm trying to avoid.

What I'm trying to make is something like this:

enter image description here

Ideally, this would be done on windows, but Linux is also an option if there are no tools available for the former

  • Interesting. I would like to know about this as well. I'm not sure if you've seen it, but turf.js can generate hex grids covering the whole world if you need. They use great circle distance to calculate the intervals (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great-circle_distance) It might suit you. But a fair warning: if it's for the whole globe and depending on the size, it will take a loooong time. Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 2:13
  • Very interesting! Have you seen this: researchgate.net/publication/…
    – Marco
    Commented Dec 13, 2017 at 12:11
  • @Marco That seems like the most promising solution, though I'll have to wait a bit for a more proper implementation since I ran into some issues with the qgis plug-in Commented Dec 13, 2017 at 19:59
  • 1
    @MiguelBartelsman nice picture, where/how did you get it?
    – Marco
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 8:53
  • @Marco google images, from this site: kiwi.atmos.colostate.edu/BUGS/geodesic They have some info on geodesic grids but I wasn't able to find anything I could put to use for my issue. Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 12:59

3 Answers 3


The dggridR R package "builds discrete global grids which partition the surface of the Earth into hexagonal, triangular, or diamond cells, all of which have the same size."

Richard Barnes (2017). dggridR: Discrete Global Grids for R. R package version 0.1.12. https://github.com/r-barnes/dggridR/

Using R in QGIS is still a pending skill, but here a tutorial: http://amsantac.co/blog/en/2015/10/31/qgis-r.html


You could take a look at AntiPrism. I've not tried this myself yet, but it looks like it can generate do various types of Geodesic grids.

There seem to be various output formats, wavefront OBJ and coordinates will be easiest to code around (The latter is a delimited XYZ from the looks of it). There's also some additional (Python) tools called AntiTile which build on AntiPrism.


Update: As of June 2018 - Uber have developed and opensourced a multi-resolution, hexagonal grid spatial indexing called H3. Link to Github


Take a look at Uber's H3 spatial index.

Note that hexagons alone cannot form a tessellation and you need several pentagons.


H3 uses the Dymaxion map projection which is based on an icosahedron:


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