Saturday, April 19, 2014

The History of Barcelona's Architecture

Big Time BCN has an interesting new approach to mapping the age of buildings.

Over the last two years there has been a growing trend in maps visualizing the age of buildings in cities around the world. You can now view maps visualizing the age of buildings for New YorkBrooklyn, MoscowReykjavíkall of the Netherlandsall of the Netherlands - againLjubljana in SloveniaPortlandChicagoMilwaukee and Detroit.

All these maps use a similar approach - shading building imprints to display the age of the city's buildings. The Big Time BCN map uses a similar approach, displaying older buildings in black and the newest buildings in white.

However the creators of the Big Time BCN map have had a little 'Eureka' moment that transforms their map from being just an interesting visualization of data into a useful guide for architects, lovers of old buildings and visitors to the city.

Many of the building age maps that I've listed above allow users to click on individual buildings to view the year of construction. The Big Time BCN map takes this interaction to the logical next step. When you click on many of the buildings on the map not only can you view the building's age but you can also view a photo of the building and a detailed account of the building's history and architecture.

The map is therefore a really useful tool for discovering more about the history of Barcelona's buildings & architecture and a great guide for visitors to the city who are interested in finding and visiting the city's oldest and most interesting buildings.

This level of interaction and information has obviously taken a huge amount of time to create. However it does make me think that many of the other building age maps could very simply add a Google Maps Street View layer to their building age visualizations.

Adding a Street View layer would allow users to actually view the buildings on the map using Google's interactive panoramic imagery. Whenever I visit one of these building age maps the first thing I do is start exploring where the city's oldest buildings are located. I'd love to be able to click on the older buildings on these maps and actually view the building using Street View.

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