February 1, 2011, 11:37 am
How Big Really?
By Lisa Agustin
We’ve previously posted on methods others have used to make large numbers understandable, including visualization of the number and making the number more intuitive. Large sizes and long distances offer a similar challenge (toilet paper rolls to the moon, anyone?) Now comes Dimensions, a map-based tool that allows you to see historical events, ancient civilizations, and great distances super-imposed on a region or address that’s familiar to you. Built by BERG design consultancy for the BBC, Dimensions is a prototype whose goal is “to bring home the human scale of events and places in history.” Layering data or current events on a map is nothing new. But what I like best about this take is both the ease of the user interface (pick an event from one of 9 categories, type in your address and hit GO) and the introduction of ancient history into the mix. It’s difficult enough to understand the magnitude of current events (e.g., the Gulf Oil Spill) but somehow the added aspect of time makes ancient entities and events like The Colossus of Rhodes and Mount Vesuvius (above) even more difficult to grasp. Dimensions successfully communicates ancient history by putting it in the context of the user’s here and now.
(via Very Short List)
news.com.au have a similar interactive for when the Queensland floods happened.
(Also check out the before and after photos at the bottom of the article)
Posted by Eric Auld on February 2, 2011 at 8:30 am
Thanks Eric– I just tried this by plugging in New England and it really does make the impact of the flooding hit home, especially in light of the flooding we had ourselves last spring.
Posted by Lisa Agustin on February 2, 2011 at 9:24 am