Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mapping Slow TV


Back in 2011 Norwegian Public Service broadcaster NRK broadcast non-stop for 134 hours the voyage of the cruise liner Hurtigruten around the Norway coastline. As well as amazing live footage of the cruise you could also keep track of the position of the cruise liner on a live real-time Google Map.

Slow television is the term used for these types of live 'marathon' television shows covering an ordinary event in its complete length. The Hurtigruten cruise wasn't the first 'slow television' broadcast by NRK (it had previously broadcast a number of films of complete train journeys). However the Hurtigruten broadcast received a big international following on the NRK website.

This had led many other broadcasters in other countries to broadcast their own 'slow television' events. For example, this year in the UK the BBC broadcast three special slow TV events, including 'The Canal Trip', broadcasting the journey of a barge along the Kennet and Avon canal. Unfortunately the BBC missed a trick by not using a map to track the position of the barge on its journey.

Czech online broadcasters Playtvak.cz has a number of slow TV broadcasts. One of these is Planespotting, a live broadcast from Václav Havel Airport in Prague. Planespotting allows you to watch a live broadcast of planes landing and taking off from the airport, from a camera positioned on the roof of the multi-story car park next to the runway.

The live footage is accompanied by the live audio feed from the control tower, so you can also listen to the pilots talking to the air traffic controllers. Beneath the live broadcast stream is a live Flightradar24 Google Map. The map shows the live position of the planes in the airport. This means that you can actually find out all kinds of details about the planes you are watching in the live stream, including the aircraft type, flight number and flight details.
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