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time_space

02.01.2012 / Technology

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Time is the new space

How do we measure distances in 2012? If you think about it, it’s in terms of time rather than in terms of space: the time needed to get from point A to point B – the precious time that we’ll have to subtract from our busy lives.

 

Which is exactly why somebody had the idea of starting to question traditional maps. What’s the use of confining ourselves to measuring space when we can quantify our movements in terms of time considering every possible variable, from traffic to public transportation?

 

One of the first experiments in rethinking traditional maps is Stefan Wehrmeyer‘s Mapnificent, which was launched around one year ago and show access from your current position to a given point in over 20 cities iof the world. In other words, you just need to select a point on Google Maps and see how long it will realistically take to reach it on public transport.

 

Vincent Meertens‘s more recent attempt, TimeMaps, is even more exciting since it displays some sort of “time-sensitive” maps – although it’s limited to the Netherlands.

The system is not as complicated as it sounds: the starting point is once again your current position, around which the program plots a map according to how long it takes to get to different destinations and depending on the time of day you are travelling, on the transport timetable, and on delays or building works.

 

The result is a series of  coloured rings each representing your possible destinantions throughout the country in 30 minutes of travel time. But the most amazing feature is the growing and shrinking of the map according to your opportunity of movement.

 

From the perspective of a well-connected major city, the country appears incredibly small, whereas from a small country village it seems much larger because transport lacks and it takes much longer to get anywhere. Pretty realistic, don’t you think?


Links

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2010-11/23/mapnificent-public-transport-maps

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-11/15/timemaps

http://www.timemaps.nl/

http://www.mapnificent.net/



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