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Geographic Time Animations

While I was writing the previous post on xls2kml, which has the ability to add time data to point placemarks in a Google Earth KML file, I got an email from someone who was looking for ways to create time-animated geographic displays. Digging through my brain and bookmarks, I came up with the following:

– If you have ArcGIS 9.2, there’s a free extension called TimeSlider from Applied Science Associates that lets you animated multiple data series that have associated dates or times. Haven’t tried it myself (I’m still stuck with 8.2).

TimeMap, from the University of Sydney’s Archaeological Computing Laboratory, creates time-based web mapping displays. From the “About” page:

“TimeMap TMJava is a novel mapping applet which generates complete interactive maps with a few simple lines of html. It provides a way of easily enriching web pages with historical or contemporary information that goes far beyond static jpg map images. It’s easy for beginners, yet provides completely customizable power and distributed backend database connectivity for the expert. It’s free for personal use.

TimeMap’s unique time-handling provides an engaging and intuitive method of delivering historical, community, government, research and business information. Combining mapping and the time dimension gives new ways of visualizing urban growth, the spread of empires, heritage sites, environmental change, weather patterns, traffic flow, earthquakes, mobile network faults, and much more ? ranging in time scale from millions of years to seconds.

TimeMap time-filters and animates maps on the fly, connects to datasets anywhere on the web and can search for and load thousands of local maps dynamically as you zoom and pan. TimeMap can filter huge datasets server-side and download only the data needed, or work standalone off a CD. It adapts legends dynamically as scale changes and generates hyperlinks on-the-fly between objects on the map and web pages, and is completely customizable with XML. Yet the applet weighs in at only 350K! ”

The TimeMap website has downloads, documentation, and sample applications. An open source version is on the way. Haven’t tried it this one yet either, but may post on it at greater depth in the future.

– Google Earth, of course, has added time-related coding to KML. But you still can’t add time information to data using the Google Earth application itself. Options for adding time coding are:

  • Add the time data manually to the KML file, as I did in my earlier sea level rise animations; this is currently the only option I know of for animating image overlays, and path/polygon KML files.
  • Use xls2kml to timecode point locations
  • Create a Google KML network link using Google Spreadsheets with timecoding added to point placemarks; Google has a tutorial page describing how to do this.
  • Create a KML network link to an EditGrid spreadsheet; OgleEarth has more info.
  • And I’m working on another way to create animated Google Earth KML files; more on this when it’s ready …

9/25/2007: Added info on EditGrid spreadsheets.

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