Data Visualization A screenshot from ChronoZoom.

Published on November 6th, 2013 | by Travis Korte


A Timeline for Big History

The makers of data visualization tool ChronoZoom set out to build a better timeline. While ordinary timelines work well for events that happen on a single time scale, like presidential elections or ice ages, it is often difficult to display events on different time scales with the same visualization. If you tried to show presidential elections and ice ages together, all the elections would all be crammed together to one end, nearly invisible. ChronoZoom solves the problem by adding a zooming component, which lets users view smaller and smaller time scales intuitively and accurately.

The open-source platform, which also includes a growing database of events from the formation of the cosmos to the founding of the ChronoZoom project itself, was developed by a team at UC Berkeley, with help from Microsoft Research, Moscow State University and the University of Washington. Although it was released in 2012, the tool has made the news again this week with the announcement of a competition to find the best visualization using its data and visualization capabilities. 

Take a look.

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About the Author

Travis Korte is a research analyst at the Center for Data Innovation specializing in data science applications and open data. He has a background in journalism, computer science and statistics. Prior to joining the Center for Data Innovation, he launched the Science vertical of The Huffington Post and served as its Associate Editor, covering a wide range of science and technology topics. He has worked on data science projects with HuffPost and other organizations. Before this, he graduated with highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley, having studied critical theory and completed coursework in computer science and economics. His research interests are in computational social science and using data to engage with complex social systems. You can follow him on Twitter @traviskorte.

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