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The MIT Senseable City Lab has collaborated with SNCF, France's national state-owned railway company, to develop Trains of Data" [senseable.mit.edu]: 2 unique visualizations of the actual performance of their high speed railway system.

The "Trains in Time" map reveals the location and number of passengers that are directly affected by eventual delays. 2 different datasets have been combined: the actual time some trains run behind schedule and the actual number of passengers on any train at any moment. The visualization is thus able to reveal where many passengers are affected by train delays.

"Isochronic France" conveys the actual travel time between between any location and the rest of the country. In this visualization, deformations are proportional to travel time and reveal the changes in the course of a one week period. Users can select any one location as their origin to explore what cities can be reached within specific travel times. The interface allows users to access the information for a specific time or visualize this information over the course of a week.

Watch the two movies below.





It's a pity so many of the projects done by research insitutions such as the Senseable Lab cannot be used interactively. I wonder if this is due to privacy or copyright issues with the underlying data. In any case, it's a pity because the data itself are indeed interesting, and a lot of people can relate to them from a personal experience.

I don't want to "download high-res images", or watch videos of the application in action accompanied by some random elevator music; I want to play around with myself and explore the data. A good example of how this can be achieved in an interactive and user-enganging fashion is http://zugmonitor.sueddeutsche.de/ , which uses timetable and delay data for the German long-distance railway network. It would have been cool if Trains of Data was as open as well.

Wed 13 Jun 2012 at 2:59 PM
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