Sunday, May 24, 2015

Maps of the Week

Isochrone Maps of Europe is a beautiful looking series of maps visualizing train travel times across the continent. The series includes a number of static isochrone maps which visualize the travel time by train across Europe from a number of major cities.

There are probably more useful dynamic isochrone maps out there, which can calculate travel times from any location. However, while these Isochrone Maps of Europe only provide travel time maps from a number of set locations, they are very beautiful looking maps.

The travel times for each city map were calculated using the the Swiss public transport API. The travel time data was then converted into contour lines using conrec.js, and then plotted as paths using d3.js and finally overlaid on a Leaflet.js map.

Pregoneros de Medellín is a wonderfully immersive virtual journey around the colorful streets of Medellín in Colombia. The experience is vaguely similar to exploring locations with Google Maps Street View - only with sound, smoother transitions and lots more interactivity.

Pregoneros de Medellín was not created with panoramic images but with video. However this isn't video as you normally know it. To progress through the video you need to scroll down on the web page. As you scroll you move through the stills of the video.

While you stroll around Medellin you can listen to the sounds of the streets and the street vendors. You can also interact with some of the characters you find on your journey. The interactive characters are indicated on screen with map markers positioned above their heads. Click on the markers and you can view short documentary type videos about the selected individual's lives.

Making Pregoneros de Medellín was obviously a huge technical challenge. You can read about how the video was captured (using a GoPro camera attached to a gimbal and fixed to a bike), how the immersive sound was added (customizing Sounds of Street View) and how the video interface was created, in this Making Of post.

Chasing the Matterhorn is a thrilling account of the first ascent of the notorious Alpine mountain. This account of the first successful climb to the top of the mountain is illustrated with a 3d model of the Matterhorn.

As you progress through the narrative, following the story of the climb, links in the text pan & zoom the 3d model to the locations on the mountain mentioned in the text.

The story of the race between two separate climbing teams to be the first to reach the summit of the Matterhorn is an incredible tale on its own. Being able to view the locations of some of the hair-raising moments in both climbs on the 3d model really helps to convey the dangers involved in these first two successful attempts on the Matterhorn.

The New York Public Library has done a wonderful job in geo-rectifying thousands of historical maps from their collections. Now thousands of the library's historical photographs have also been geo-tagged.

OldNYC is a Google Map locating 40,000 NYPL historical photographs of New York to the closest intersection. This isn't the most beautiful or the most well made map of the week but the content makes it hugely interesting. Click on a marker on the map and you can view historical photographs of New York taken near that location. You can even use Google Maps Street View to explore the same views portrayed in the photos as they look in New York today.

OldNYC was created by the same team that built OldSF. OldSF is a similar map for San Francisco, which allows you to browse historical photos from the San Francisco Public Library collection.
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