Thanks to some curious emails and a couple of dormant Google Alerts, it's come to my attention that the Travel Time Tube Map I made a few years ago has had a sudden resurgence of internet fame. My original blog post informs me that it's over 5 years old. Wow!
I'm not sure who rediscovered it first, but thanks to everyone who's linked to it so far including Fast Co. Design, Creativity Online, Wired UK, PSFK, Roomthily, Inteloquent, OpenStreetMap and numerous Twitter and Facebook users.
The map has been picked up by a few books and exhibitions over the years, including the wonderful Form + Code by Casey Reas and Chandler McWilliams. If you're interested in how this kind of work gets made then the book is essential.
If you're interested in a more thorough theoretical exploration of isochrones I can recommend Nicholas Street's Time Contours paper on the subject. If you find yourself yearning for an even deeper treatment of transit data, look around for people like Mike Frumin who take research far more seriously than I do!
If you want to play around with this code for yourself, it should be relatively easy to fix up for current versions of Processing (probably just the fonts will need updating, please leave a comment if there's anything else) and you can get the data here.
I've had a few requests to update the map with current data, including the East London Line and Heathrow Terminal 5, as well as suggestions to include the overground in south London and elsewhere. Sadly I haven't found a coherent and consistent data source that I could drop-in as a replacement for my hand-edited original. The official Transport for London data sources on data.gov.uk look promising, and I've had a couple of under-the-table offers from people with access to time-table data, but these all require more time and effort than I have for the map at the moment. In future I'd like to move the map to a more 201x format like Canvas or SVG, perhaps porting to Processing JS. Perhaps an app? One day...
"Mr. Micawber was waiting for me within the gate, and we went up to
his room (top story but one), and cried very much. He solemnly
conjured me, I remember, to take warning by his fate; and to
observe that if a man had twenty pounds a-year for his income, and
spent nineteen pounds nineteen shillings and sixpence, he would be
happy, but that if he spent twenty pounds one he would be
miserable. After which he borrowed a shilling of me for porter,
gave me a written order on Mrs. Micawber for the amount, and put
away his pocket-handkerchief, and cheered up."
I am the Mr Micawber of time, being that I'm over-spending just slightly this month. Hopefully I'll make it up this year!
If I had more time I might blog about a small revival in minimal geeky location-based fun stuff that's happening with sites like noticin.gs and blockchalk.com. I might also note that foursquare got funding which is good because even though I'm not particularly attracted to the service it's a better experience than its competitors by a long way (and much less creepy, I think). And I'd note that opengeodata.org has stopped being about OpenStreetMap exclusively and that if you want to get Steve Coast's attention there are a million things he's thinking about these days.
If I had more time to blog and more time to think, I'd stop leaving cranky comments trying to answer Manuel Lima's false dichotomy and Robert Kosara's straw man and I'd stop worrying about definitions of data and aesthetics and analysis and I'd be happy to frame the argument in terms of prickles and goo instead.
"it is inevitable that there will soon be a large number of hybrid designer-engineers that shall radically reconstruct the visual landscape." – John Maeda
This debate isn't new and it's not going away either. John Maeda and friends have been pointing out the rise of gooey-prickles and prickley-goo for years. I wonder if prickly folks at RISD are getting gooier, and vice versa.
My money's on the middle ground too, which is why I find narrow and divisive definitions so frustrating. Why can't we have aesthetically pleasing data analysis? (Of course there will be pure analysis with no emphasis on aesthetics, just as there will be pure aesthetics with no emphasis on data. Sometimes the latter with be art to make a point. That's cool!)
If I had more time to think and blog, I'd have told you about our intern Amy Martin and how she worked with us over the summer on some Wikipedia stuff to hone her hybrid designer-developer skills, and how that seems to be paying off nicely. And I'd mention the new GAFFTA space in San Francisco that is running workshops also recognising this kind of work without worrying overmuch about definitions. We'll be there next month.
Gosh. If I had more time I'd never blog.
In his now-famous style of ranting at SXSW this year, Bruce Sterling berated the incessant flows of information on the web, saying it's, "like watching you get beaten to death with croutons".
I'm inclined to agree that sometimes it can all be a bit much. But I also don't care - I've got a lot of personal enjoyment and utility out of posting links to del.icio.us, and it seems like a lot of other people get value from reading them - either directly, or on aggregate.
I've been trying out Tumblr recently and I'm thrilled that it's allowing me to do the same thing but with images and videos, and the occasional quote. It's a very free and easy way to keep track of things I think are noteworthy. It turns out I don't want to find most of these things again, so the lack of tags and other things is fine - a blessing, even. If you're the kind of person who likes a steady stream of croutons, feel free to read along at randometc.tumblr.com.
When life gives you lemons, suck 'em, honestly, lemons taste awesome. When the web gives you croutons - feast!
Here are my online references from a lecture I gave today at UCL.
This will all be assimilated into my del.icio.us page shortly.