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— urbantick

Tag "timeSpace"

Time as an element of space (simplification) is a tricky thing. Mapping the time is even worse. It pops up here and there and some nice example have been developed recently, mainly in connection with digital application. A series of posts on this blog have been dedicated to this problem. There was an early one on aquarium and one on different aproaches that I have tried with my data and an other one with examples of software to deal with this.

Image from strange maps – Dicken and Lloyd 1981

Interesting on those time space maps really is how a distorted image emerges. Space, or better the shape we know looks different as distances become longer or shorter due to the aspect of time it takes to travel it. On the above map the South East of England almost vanishes as it is quite accessible from London where as western and northern areas are quite stretched out.
Since 1981 the Eurostar Tunnel has been opened and travel times to mainland Europe have changed. Paris is only just under two hours away from London these days. For the construction of Euralille the leading planning office OMA has produced a set of nice graphics visualizing how Europe moves closer together with the Eurostar and TGV network expansion.
Time can also be a very interesting on a smaller scale. Again OMA used it during the planning of a project in Yokohama. It was part of the programming process. Mapping the different uses over twenty-four hours gave a good insight on how the development will be used. Density and location are adjusted as needed.

Image taken from S M L XL Project – Euralille Project and Yokohama project timetable.

The use of technology such as GIS, database and mapping services such as Google Maps, Yahoo Maps or Open Street Map have give rise to a new breed of interactive time maps on the internet. One such example on London commuting times can be seen here. You can use the two sliders above the map to adjust desired travel time and property prices. The visualization is based on excluding information. The map does not distort as seen above, the sliders basically simply direct a black overlay that turns areas of the map invisible. In this sense it is a rather simple visualization. But it gives a good sense of the geographical area that a certain time frame applies to. Mainly for map reading trained people though. For others this might just add to the confusion. The simple travel times provided by London transport might be, in most cases more helpful. In terms of accuracy one can argue here, that there will be a delay or any sort of other complication anyway and it hugely depends on what time of the day you are actually traveling. So basically the time frame for the time frame would be important.
In short the perception of travel time is a very important factor. This is probably more important than the actual travel time. TFL somehow has the problem, that people expect it to be slow and unreliable and this probably affects the perception of travel time dramatically.

Image by mysociety.org

BBCone Has produced an animation of crime over time in Oxford. They are looking at a week and document how the amount of crime builds up. Again it is based on a normal map and colour dots fade in and out to indicate locations and a time slider on the top gives information about the time of the day and the day of the week.

Image by BBCone – Oxford crime map over time

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While thinking of cycles, time plays a very important role. A cycles always has a time duration associated with it. Actually time is the defining element of the rhythm. This opens the possibility to read a cycle disconnect from its spatial dimension. It is possible to have two or more cycles in sync in time but not in space.
But the problem to visualize time is a fascinating one. The simplest thing is often very complicated.

obj=new Object;obj.clockfile=”trans007-black.swf”;obj.TimeZone=”GMT”;obj.width=580;obj.height=580;obj.wmode=”transparent”;showClock(obj);
Clock by clocklink.com

Looking at some ways time is integrated as an option in services. I only recently came across he time option on the Google page. It is possible to search for key words or a combination of words and seeing the result ordered by the data. It is mainly meant to improve search results related to historic event or person. The only thing I found about the definition is that it shows the referred date. It i not really clear how things get lined up whether the data has to be in the text body or as a reference for a blog entry for example. The Google help is not very detailed.
I tried it with urbantick, but the result is not very exciting. Nothing show up in the timeline view, how sad. Only if tested in the experimental section it comes up with some decent results. Although here it becomes clear that the timeline responds to the dates integrated in the body of the text. Unfortunately Google has not et integrated the function for the general blog search. So we play with something else then. It works well for terms like London:

Image by UrbanTick – screenshot

On the other hand in the Google News section the timeline option is brilliant. Here it works really good as it is pretty clear what time and date mean and how it is used. In this context it is rather surprising that it did not exist from the beginning as news live on time. There are a number of setting that can be made, including user queries. Then the time span and time frame can be adjusted.

Image by UrbanTick – screenshot

Even with messages the aspect of time has become much more important. Looking at emails, they used to be a simple letter. The date sent was general ordering indicator. Only much later a sequence of correspondence with the same topic or same person became highlighted in some email programs. Googlemail has then introduced the conversation as an organizing criteria. Moving towards a proper chat communication with email messages shows the effort Google takes with the development of WAVE, the next generation of messaging application.
The same goes for the iPhone message board. It is no longer arranged by date and time, but by conversation, what a leap!

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The New York Times has published a graphic on how americans spend their time during the day. The data was collected in a large survey by the American Bureau of Labor Statistics. Participants were asked to recall every minute, as the Times putts it of their day.
The interactive graphic allows detailed access to time and activity and some control over the group. Different groups spend their day obviously different. There are differences between different races and ages, but the major difference is between the working population and the non working population, e.g. unemployed. This is the main interest for the US in this statistic because of the high number of unemployed people. It is at 1 in 10, a level not seen in 27 years.

Image from nytimes – left employed, right unemployed. Yellow represents time at work, dark brown TV and movies, the olive is household activities. Click on the image for the real flash based version.

The graph is not as sharp as maybe expected. There seems to be quite a large time frame for change of activity. Nevertheless the structure is quite clear, with large number having a very similar daily rhythm.
The American Bureau of Labor Statistics has a really detailed archive of time use data. It is all accessible through their webpage. The data is ready to download in different formats. They cover the time periods from 2003 on a yearly cycle. Beside the raw data also some processed data is available, including graphs.

you can compare to the UrbanDiary graphs from earlier this year here. It does show similar pattens, but is based on GPS records and therefor accounts only for movements.

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A sort of a very special timeLapse animation movie produced by Olympus for the PEN camera. It is the story of a guys life literally in pictures with some great movement, both, in frame and out of the frame. Across he world of the table, down the leg f the road and along the floor of the beach in to marriage and beyond. It’s been shot in 60’000 pictures, from which they developed some 9’600 prints. The timeLapse is the shot in another 1’800 photographs. Details can be found at penstory.

The PEN Story from PENStory on Vimeo.

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Every year during the late summer months, the Serpentine Gallery in London erects a pavilion outside in the park. It is usually a famous architect or an architecture team. There is already a long list of buildings, of whom some have become very famous.
This year it is SANAA, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa from Japan. The pair has developed a very distinct stile and are building icons of buildings all over the world. One of the most recent completed works is the new Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, opened in 2007. This years Serpentine Summer Pavilion is a free flowing open shape and mainly consists of a floor plate and a roof plate. Together with some very thin columns it defines the space. It seems that this kind of spatial experience is rather difficult for most of the visitors and they don’t really know what to do with, in or around it. Most people end up standing around the “object” and look at it.

The project of having a Summer Pavilion started in 2000. Clock wise from the centre.

2009 – SANAA
2008 – Frank Gehry
2007 – Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen
2007 – Zaha Hadid (temporary)
2006 – Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond
2005 – Alvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura
2004 – MVRDV (not realized)
2003 – Oscar Niemeyer
2002 – Toyo Ito
2001 – Daniel Libeskind
2000 – Zaha Hadid

Last years (2008) Frank Gerry Pavilion in a timeLapse

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The role of cycles and routines in culture have been explored in various aspects on this blog earlier. From early settlements to the concept of time in terms of units such as days, weeks and month.
One of the cultures that have throughout a very strong concept of repetition in the more literal sense is ancient Egypt, the culture of the Pharaohs. There is so much research on this culture out there and for Europe and especially Britain this has been a deep fascination for centuries. The British Museum is stuffed to the roof with artifacts and knowledge collected in Egypt.
What I want to look at is the “simple“ concept of the birth and death of the sun during the course of one day. Two elements in Egypt have had a fundamental impact on how the Egyptian culture has formed. This is on one hand the Nile as the life spending river that runs through the deathly desert from south to north and the sun that spends the warmth and makes the plants grow that travels from east to west. These two elements might also had a fundamental influence in how orientation and navigation was developed. (Yi-Fu Tuan (1974), Topophilia. Columbia University Press, New York) It is believed, that the Egyptian culture hated the darkness that arose together with the cold as soon as the sun has touched the horizon in the west. The dark and the cold were associated with death, just like the daily death of the sun. As an opposition to this there was the daily birth of the sun as it rose over the horizon in the east. For this miracle the Scarab beetle was responsible. The beetle was an important character that took care of the death and was associated with the Egyptian god, Khepri. He did take care of the sun and made sure, that after she died in the evening she was reborn in the morning in the east. To do so he rolled the sun just like a ball backwards along the sky, just like a Scarab beetle would roll a ball of dung. So the beetle rolled the son during the night from west to east. The Egyptian name for this important insect was ”Kheper“. The scarab beetle was also a symbol of rebirth after death. To believe in being reborn led to the mummification of the dead body, to preserve it for it’s next life. When the Egyptians mummified a body they would remove the heart and put a stone carved like the beetle in its place. Just like the sun would be reborn every day, also humans would be sent back from the death to be reborn. The idea of cycles and repetition as observed in nature was deeply embedded in the culture of ancient Egypt.

Image from labspaces.net

Some sort of visualization with a time lapse of the night sky.
Perseids from powrslave on Vimeo.

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Sales in the iPhone App store have amazed a lot of people. Together with the popularity of the iPhone, or the other way round, the iTunes app store’s sales have rocketed sky high. Around 3000 apps per minute are sold online. A great success for Apple, and even though we are apple fans here, why should this feature on the blog?
Well, interesting is the visualization that has been produced to impress visitors at this years WWDC 2009. A massive Hyperwall with 16 screens shows the live sales directly from the app store (some 5 min delay).

Image from Appleinsider

Image from flickr

This visualization is fascinating because it shows the rather virtual activity of the iTunes store. People are downloading applications for their iPhones/iPod touch’s in thousands per minute. The wall visualized live which of the 20’000 most popular app is sold with a blink of this apps icon. The screen is ordered according to colour that makes it look nice, is otherwise probably not helpful. It shows the variety of apps and starting to categorize them would probably only end in a very confusing table with sub tables. As it is live one could probably stand there and buy an app and watch the icon go blink. I can imagine that this could become addictive.
The time in visualization has always been, but has recently become much more important. It still is a very difficult element to usefully integrate, but in this case it serves brilliantly the purpose.
It needs a lot of processing power, as you have read above in apple’s statement. 20 Mac Pro towers are running for this visual, very impressive.

Hyperwall in WWDC 2009, Live from App Store from Imagebakery on Vimeo.

Some more, almost realtime project I came across:
Facebook activity around the globe by facebook “This video showcases a Hackathon project that visualizes all the data Facebook receives.”

Or real time data visualization of data traffic in the network of Deutsche Telecom in Germany

Image by zumkukuk

Clip can be seen here.

Experiments have also been undertaken by the MIT sensableCity lab. Their best known example is probably the Rome Real TIme work for the Biennale. They were using six different types of real time visuals to draw a comprehensive picture of the city. The data came live from the Italian Telephone company where sent to the US to the MIT lab to be processed and be made available as a download for the mobile stations in Rome. Not strictly real time but with some 10min delay still fairly quick. A similar project was run on Obama’s inauguration day in Washington earlier this year. See earlier post on this blog, but in this case it was not processed immediately.

Image from senseableCity

The visualization of the cell phone activity during the Madonna concert in August 2006 in Rome.
Rome mobile phone activity from realtime city on Vimeo.

And a second visualization of pedestrian real time activity based on cell phone data.
Pedestrians and public transport in Rome from realtime city on Vimeo.

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The fascination with the moon had for a long time now had a bit of low. It is just there on the sky changing somehow a bit everyday and might get recognized in good weather conditions at full moon.
Historically the lunar calendar had a big influence, today the only real lunar calendar is the Islamic calendar or Hijri calendar (wiki). Most calendar in the past where in fact lunisolar. “All these calendars have a variable number of months in a year. The reason for this is that a year is not evenly divisible by an exact number of lunation, so without the addition of intercalary months the seasons would drift each year. This results in a thirteen-month year every two or three years.” (wiki)
The lunar cycles are not in sync with our currently used time units. The lunar day is not 24 hours, but 24 hours and 50 minutes. The most visual impact of this shift is the tide cycle and the fact that the tide is not everyday at the same time, but is roughly 25 minutes later every day.
Aluna now, is a large-scale permanent installation to visualize and communicate the lunar cycles. It is proposed to be built in London in the East India Dock Basin by 2012.
“Aluna is a unique proposal for the world’s first tidal powered Moon Clock. It will change the way we consider time and understand our planet.
Larger than Stonehenge, Aluna’s forty meter wide, five storey high structure is made up of three concentric translucent recycled glass rings. By looking at how each ring is illuminated, you can follow the Moon’s movements, its current phase and the ebb and flow of the tides. This animation of light is called Alunatime.” (alunatime.org)
Three rings of glass will display the wax and the wane of the moon in 29.5 calendar days (largest ring), the rise and sink of the moon in 24 hours and 50 minutes (middle ring) and the ebb and flow of the tide in 6 hours 25 minutes (smallest ring).
A brilliant animation of the sculpture is on the website. It is a 3D rendering, but in sync with the three rings are also displayed the tide of the river Thames and the moon on the sky, absolutely amazing.
For lunar geeks, there is also a Google Gadget for your iGoogle displaying the lunar calendar.

Image taken from aluna.org by Laura Williams

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The Bartlett summer show has only just closed. It was as usual a great show and very inspirational. It is a long tradition that the Bartlett School of Architecture shows of the work that has been done during the year, of course it is a selection! Each unit from undergrad to diploma are involved and in the last few weeks this is the main focus of the school.
As the show is now over and the work has retreated back in to the Wates House maze what remains is the catalogue and some clips that have been posted online.
Hehe, there we go, there is one particular clip I am talking about, as you might have guessed. The Bartlett Year in ten minutes, another type of timeLapse one year summary – enjoy

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In terms of cycles the tide is one of the most direct and powerful examples. While being away for a few days I enjoyed roughly fourteen tide cycles. The constance and continuity is very impressive together with the force. Assuming all of us have once tried to defend a sandcastle from the incoming wavs or keeping the little channel connected to the water as the tide goes out. The task is doomed, but only for the moment. There will be a next timeframe where it is possible again, this is the fascinating aspect of the rhythm. The problem with this is that our ability to deal with these time spans is limited. We very much life in the here and now and the speed and repetition of the tide is somehow just about out side our time perception. On one hand it move too slow in order to be properly perceived on a short term basis and it suddenly reaches your towel. On the other hand the cycle of two high tides is too long to be directly related in our experience.
Therefore the timeLapse is a good tool to get to grips with the rhythm, enjoy.

tl_tideHD_090702 from urbanTick on Vimeo.

Music “fire whistle’ by Jorya at mp3unsigned

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