Posts Tagged ‘time’

Maybe places are more about time than location: Retrofitting Geo for the 4th Dimension (Fekaylius)

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

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[Editor's note: Thanks Sylvain!]

Republished from Fekaylius’s place.

We are in a period of mass-market place ambiguity.

Places drift, jump, and fade, physically. Some places have a much higher propensity towards noticeable drift than others, but location, in general, is not stable. The geo-web of the past few years has mostly ignored this as a low impact edge case. The era of the Google Maps API dramatically boosted developer productivity and interest within the geo space because it simplified and lowered the barriers to entry, while simultaneously reinforcing a few paradigms that find easy adoption within rapidly moving startups and business, ideas like “the perfect is the enemy of the good” and “solve for the 80% use case”. Startups are constantly faced with a to-do list that can never be 100% complete, but these catchy ideas formalize and automate the painful process of deeming some desires unworthy of your attention. Since 80% of the places that most people are searching for, or reviewing, or visiting feel relatively immune to change (at least in the “several years” lifespan much of today’s software is being designed for), we have very quickly built up a stiff and rigid framework around these places to facilitate the steep adoption of these now ubiquitous geo-services. The rigidity is manifest in the ways that place drift isn’t handled, places are assumed to be permanent.

Continue reading at Fekaylius’ place . . .

Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline (Daniel Rosenberg + Anthony Grafton)

Friday, May 7th, 2010

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[Editor's note: I've had a couple weeks with this gorgeously illustrated book. The text if readable and informative, but best of all the authors reproduce the example artwork in the flow of their text allowing easy cross-examination (even if it means digging out your magnifying glass). Buy via Powells (they only have 3 left in stock!).]

Republished from Princeton Architectural Press.

What does history look like? How do you draw time?

From the most ancient images to the contemporary, the line has served as the central figure in the representation of time. The linear metaphor is ubiquitous in everyday visual representations of time—in almanacs, calendars, charts, and graphs of all sorts. Even our everyday speech is filled with talk of time having a “before” and an “after” or being “long” and “short.” The timeline is such a familiar part of our mental furniture that it is sometimes hard to remember that we invented it in the first place. And yet, in its modern form, the timeline is not even 250 years old. The story of what came before has never been fully told, until now.

Cartographies of Time is the first comprehensive history of graphic representations of time in Europe and the United States from 1450 to the present. Authors Daniel Rosenberg and Anthony Grafton have crafted a lively history featuring fanciful characters and unexpected twists and turns. From medieval manuscripts to websites, Cartographies of Time features a wide variety of timelines that in their own unique ways—curving, crossing, branching—defy conventional thinking about the form. A fifty-four-foot-long timeline from 1753 is mounted on a scroll and encased in a protective box. Another timeline uses the different parts of the human body to show the genealogies of Jesus Christ and the rulers of Saxony. Ladders created by missionaries in eighteenth-century Oregon illustrate Bible stories in a vertical format to convert Native Americans. Also included is the April 1912 Marconi North Atlantic Communication chart, which tracked ships, including the Titanic, at points in time rather than by their geographic location, alongside little-known works by famous figures, including a historical chronology by the mapmaker Gerardus Mercator and a chronological board game patented by Mark Twain. Presented in a lavishly illustrated edition, Cartographies of Time is a revelation to anyone interested in the role visual forms have played in our evolving conception of history.

Daniel Rosenberg is associate professor of history at the University of Oregon. He has published widely on history, theory, and art, and his work appears frequently in Cabinet magazine, where he is editor-at-large. With Susan Harding, he is editor of Histories of the Future.

Anthony Grafton is the Henry Putnam University Professor at Princeton University. He is the author of numerous books on European history and also writes on a wide variety of topics for the New Republic, American Scholar, the New York Review of Books, and the New Yorker.

Read more at Princeton Architectural Press . . .

Maps of Henri Cartier Bresson’s Travels by Adrian Kitzinger @ MoMa

Monday, April 26th, 2010

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[Editor's note: Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908–2004) helped to define photographic modernism starting in the 1930s when he began working for Life and other news "picture" magazines (exhibit at MoMa in New York thru June 28, 2010). He snatched beguiling images from fleeting moments of everyday life. He traveled the whole world over, as this series of maps from Adrian Kitzinger shows. Because he visited some cities more than once, the cartographer employs a clever technique of showing overall trips with colored route lines and visited cities in normal black type. If subsequent visits were made, the city name is underlined in the route color of the 2ndary, tertiary, etc trip. Some indication is also made for the mode of transport. Photo below is from after WWII as a women denounces another for ratting on her to the Nazi secret police during the war.]

Republished from the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

These maps, by Adrian Kitzinger, have been adapted from the maps he made for the detailed chronology of Cartier-Bresson’s travels in the book that accompanies the exhibition. The principal itineraries are named by year and distinguished by color, and are keyed to a descriptive list on each map. Please note that some quite similar colors designate entirely distinct itineraries.

Cartier-Bresson’s travel is rendered as lines (solid by land or sea, dashes by air) following the most probable routes; when a route cannot be reasonably surmised or clearly shown, locales that belong to a single trip share a color code: underscores or colored type. Some more far-flung connections are indicated with dotted arrows. Places Cartier-Bresson visited independently of a recorded itinerary are represented as circles with gray rather than white centers.

View more maps at MoMa . . .

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Google Public Data Explorer (information aesthetics)

Monday, March 15th, 2010

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[Editor's note: Summary of data visualization web apps with focus on the new Google Public Data Explorer which has a good mix of charting and mapping. Interesting Google has approached the visualization space with their Flash API. Some offer private data but most take a shared-data (public) storage system.]

Republished from Information Aesthetics.

Google Public Data Explorer [google.com] is yet the latest entry in the ongoing race to democratize data access and its representation for lay people. Similar to Many Eyes, Swivel, Tableau Public and many others, Google Public aims to make large datasets easy to explore, visualize and communicate. As a unique feature, the charts and maps are able to animate over time, so that any meaningful time-varying data changes become easier to understand. The goal is for students, journalists, policy makers and everyone else to play with the tool to create visualizations of public data, link to them, or embed them in their own webpages. Embedded charts are also updated automatically, so they always show the latest available data.

Continue reading at Information Aesthetics . . .

Space-Time Modeling and Analysis Workshop (ESRI)

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

[Editor's note: Two day workshop in Redlands next month.]

Republished from ArcNews (Winter 2009/2010)

logoScientists working on understanding the integration of space and time will gather in Redlands, California, February 22–23, 2010, to attend the Space-Time Modeling and Analysis Workshop. The workshop will be part of the first Redlands GIS Week—a gathering of thought leaders from academia, government, and industry to advance the science and application of geospatial technologies. The remainder of Redlands GIS Week 2010 will be dedicated to informal networking activities, demonstrations, and technical tours.

The Space-Time Modeling and Analysis Workshop will feature keynote presentations, lightning talks, and small group discussions, as well as opportunities for informal brainstorming with leading geospatial thinkers and implementers. Redlands GIS Week will be held at ESRI’s headquarters, as well as nearby sites in Redlands, California. The event is cosponsored by the Association of American Geographers (AAG), the University of Redlands, the University of Southern California, and ESRI. After the workshop, a publication will share the event’s results with a larger audience.

More Information

For more information and to view the call for participation, visit www.redlandsgisweek.org.

Time Awareness in ArcGIS 9.4 Leads to Better Understanding of Complex Geographies (ESRI)

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

[Editor's note: In the next release of ArcMap, due this summer, ESRI takes cues from Google Earth and adds a "time slider" to easily visualize time series in GIS.]

Republished from ArcNews (Winter 2009/2010).

Visualizing Time in GIS

In his First Law of Geography, noted geographer and cartographer Waldo Tobler states, “Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things.”

GIS professionals are well versed in visualization of spatial relationships and dependencies, of the proximity of near things and distant things, as in things you can measure with a ruler or with mile markers. But often when studying geography and looking for relationships and dependencies, equally important is proximity in time, as in something that can be measured with a watch or calendar.

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You can control visualization of temporal data in ArcGIS 9.4 using the new “time slider.”

Pioneering environmental planner Ian McHarg is widely known in the GIS community as the “discoverer” of overlay theory, the base theory behind GIS. Another of McHarg’s discoveries—perhaps lesser known, but equally important—is chronology, or the placing of geographic layers in chronological sequence to show relationships, dependencies, and causation through time. “We found the earliest events, mainly of geological history, had pervasive and influential effects, not only on physiography, soils, and vegetation, but also on the availability of resources,” McHarg states, describing an environmental planning study in the 1960s, in A Quest for Life. He calls his discovery of chronology—the order or sequence of features through time—”. . . a most revelatory instrument for understanding the environment, diagnosing, and prescribing,” a construct that leads to a deeper understanding of structure and meaning in the landscape.

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Charles Joseph Minard’s 1869 flow map of Napoleon’s 1812 Russian campaign is a classic example of spatiotemporal visualization (Image Source: Wikimedia Commons).

Chronology is enabled by temporal data. Temporal data is data that specifically refers to times or dates. Temporal data may refer to discrete events, such as lightning strikes; moving objects, such as trains; or repeated observations, such as counts from traffic sensors.

Depicting spatial change over time is a four-dimensional problem, and visualizing temporal phenomena on a two-dimensional map has always been a challenge. The simplest approach is the map series, where individual maps of geographic conditions at certain points in time are presented individually, in chronological order.

Other inventive methods of visualizing change over time and space include creative symbolization, such as in Charles Joseph Minard’s famous map of Napoleon’s march across Russia.

Temporal GIS is an emerging capability for integrating temporal data with location and attribute data, enabling temporal visualization and ultimately temporal analysis. Visualizing change on a computer screen in a GIS environment may give the viewer more options, but it is still a challenge. A simple yet highly effective method of visualizing time in GIS is through animation—displaying a series of maps in rapid succession on the screen.

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A creative method of representing temporal datasets in GIS developed by the Earth and Environmental Science Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory (ESRI Map Book, Volume 19).

“The eye and brain are enormously efficient at detecting patterns and finding anomalies in maps and other visual displays,” says Michael Goodchild of the University of California, Santa Barbara. “GIS works best when the computer and the brain combine forces and when GIS is used to augment human intuition by manipulating and displaying data in ways that reveal things that would otherwise be invisible.” Building a robust temporal capability into GIS provides the human eye and brain with powerful visual tools to help determine the reasons why things happened in space-time. It is also key to modeling and predicting things that might happen in the future.

The new time-aware functionality in ArcGIS 9.4 lets you

  • Create and manage time-based data.
  • Display and animate temporal datasets.
  • Publish and query temporal map services.

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The user interface in ArcGIS 9.4 lets you set time properties for one or more layers.

ArcGIS 9.4 makes temporal mapping simple and easy; enables temporal data management, exploration, and visualization; and creates a strong foundation upon which sophisticated temporal geoprocessing tools and workflows can be built in the future. As McHarg states in To Heal the Earth, “Processes, laws, and time reveal the present.” And once we have the tools and techniques in place to fully grasp how the past has created the present, we can use these same tools and techniques to shape our future.

More Information

For more information, visit www.esri.com/whatscoming.

Analyze this, Tufte! Movie Narrative Charts (XKCD comic)

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

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[Editor's note: Thanks Jo!]

Republished from XKCD.

These charts show movie character interactions. The horizontal axis is time. The vertical groupings of the lines indicates which characters are together at a given time. On the LoTRs up and down roughly correspond to northwest and southeast.

View larger, legible version at XKCD . . .

Why California Is Still America’s Future (And That’s a Good Thing Too) (Time mag)

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

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[Editor's note: The cover story and map from this week's Time magazine features California made to look like a circuit board (image above).]

Republished form Time.

Despite Its Woes, California’s Dream Still Lives

California, you may have heard, is an apocalyptic mess of raging wildfires, soaring unemployment, mass foreclosures and political paralysis. It’s dysfunctional. It’s ungovernable. Its bond rating is barely above junk. It’s so broke, it had to hand out IOUs while its leaders debated how many prisoners to release and parks to close. Nevada aired ads mocking California’s business climate to lure its entrepreneurs. The media portray California as a noir fantasyland of overcrowded schools, perpetual droughts, celebrity breakdowns, illegal immigration, hellish congestion and general malaise, captured in headlines like “Meltdown on the Ocean” and “California’s Wipeout Economy” and “Will California Become America’s First Failed State?”

Actually, it won’t.

Ignore the California whinery. It’s still a dream state. In fact, the pioneering megastate that gave us microchips, freeways, blue jeans, tax revolts, extreme sports, energy efficiency, health clubs, Google searches, Craigslist, iPhones and the Hollywood vision of success is still the cutting edge of the American future — economically, environmentally, demographically, culturally and maybe politically. It’s the greenest and most diverse state, the most globalized in general and most Asia-oriented in particular at a time when the world is heading in all those directions. It’s also an unparalleled engine of innovation, the mecca of high tech, biotech and now clean tech. In 2008, California’s wipeout economy attracted more venture capital than the rest of the nation combined. Somehow its supposedly hostile business climate has nurtured Google, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Facebook, Twitter, Disney, Cisco, Intel, eBay, YouTube, MySpace, the Gap and countless other companies that drive the way we live.

Continue to read at Time . . .

Water Measured From the Sky: Satellites Track Land’s Consumption (Wash Post)

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Republished from The Washington Post.

In Idaho, scientists are using remote imaging to study evapotranspiration, the loss of water to the atmosphere by evaporation from soil and water, and by transpiration from plants.

Water management is serious business in the American West, where precipitation is scarce, irrigated agriculture is a major industry, new housing subdivisions spread across arid landscapes and water rights are allocated in a complicated seniority system.

Related story from The Washington Post »

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Human Clock

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

[Editor's note: Discovered the Human Clock site when I took my friend to the Apple Store and the genius bar dude used it to test her Airport wireless connection. User submitted photos and found art from around the word that include numbers that spell out the current time. Images updated every minute, with several variations for each. Quite amusing! Sample images below.]

View the Human Clock!