Home logoTimeMapper a WMS for vector animation of spatio-temporal data

Welcome to the homepage of TimeMapper, a proof-of-concept for online dissemination of spatial-temporal information in the form of animated and interactive vector maps.

TimeMapper is the result of an MSc research project by Timothée Becker and his supervisors Barend Köbben and Dr Connie Blok. It extends RIMapper, a WMS developed by Köbben using SVG to deliver online interactive maps from a database backend.

NOTE that the server-side code generating the animations has now been branched back into the main code body of RIMapperWMS, the SVG Web Map Service that TimeMapper was based on. This was combined with a (simplified ) animation GUI, so that TimeMapper now is part of RIMapperWMS. For more info (and code) visit the RIMapperWMS website.

The novelty and interest of the TimeMapper project is that it generates interactive and animated vector maps for the internet from spatio-temporal data stored according to OGC's standards (WMS Time Dimension).

The functionalities designed and the technologies used to implement the prototype were chosen to be as generic as possible. In effect, while the prototype is specific for the exploration of moving objects dynamics, the same principles could be used to visualize a wide variety of real-world spatio-temporal phenomena (political sensus, health issues, climate change, ...) as well as to build simulations.

The generic functionalities provided comprise:

  • a time-slider,
  • linear and cyclic temporal legends,
  • a looping function,
  • play and pause buttons,
  • a speed control slider,
  • gui  and the original functionalities of RIMapper to interact with the spatial dimension (pan and zoom) that has been additioned with a layer toggler. Layers from external WMSes can be loaded and TimeMapper automatically queries these when the user pans or zooms the map.

All examples have (for now) a fixed time-extent.

A moving object visualization prototype

The present prototype was developed for the exploration of moving object dynamics and the dataset chosen for testing is the National Ice Center (NIC) "Antarctic Icebergs" dataset. A user requirement analysis was done taking into account actors interested in icebergs from different scientific and industrial fields (navigation, oceanography, glaciology, climatology and iceberg multi-disciplinary studies).

Two main visualization tasks are now possible: studying iceberg distributions and studying iceberg movement dynamics. More features have been designed and only lack implementation.

Snapshot of the TimeMapper prototype

The TimeMapper testcases

NOTE that the TimeMapper testcases on this page are now defunct. The original testcase have been integrated in the examples page of RIMapperWMS, the SVG Web Map Service that TimeMapper was based on. This was combined with a (simplified ) animation GUI, so that TimeMapper now is part of RIMapperWMS. For more info (and code) visit the RIMapperWMS website. On that website, choose"TRY OUT RIMapperWMS 1.1 GetMap & GetCapabilities" and you will see a form where you can experiment with the functionality. The preset "Antarctica Icebergs animated" is actually the same as the original TimeMapper demo, but mostly better (conformance to WMS standard, better performance, simplified GUI, additional attribute info, etc)...

More information

The ITC MSc Thesis [13 Mb PDF] by Timothée Becker, for which the prototype examples were developed is available. It describes the theory behind the TimeMapper concept as well as the technology used to create it.

A chapter in a book [422 Kb PDF]  that discusses the TimeMapper prototype:
Köbben, B., Becker, T. & Blok, C. (2012), Webservices for Animated Mapping: The TimeMapper prototype, in M. P. Peterson, ed., ‘Online Maps with APIs and WebServices’, Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography, Springer Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, chapter 14, pp. 205–217.

For technical background, setup information and downloadable examples and code of RIMapper (on which TimeMapper is based), visit the RIMapper homepage.

Barend Köbben, Timothée Becker - last changes April 04, 2009
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
Creative Commons License