Thursday, August 19, 2010

BBC Dimensions helps you grasp the size of historical objects, important places and more

Ever wondered how big the Pyramid of Giza is compared to your neighborhood, or how far the Mars Rover would have gone if you had let it wander from the front door, or how big an area you would have to clear out to construct a space Saturn V launch pad in your backyard? A new site from BBC answers such fascinating questions and more.

The new site called BBC Dimensions allows you to wrap your head around the size of important places, events and things, by taking and overlaying them onto a map of where you are. You get to select from a wide range of important objects and historical events, environmental disasters, festivals, ancient world monuments, and even space objects like the moon.


You can have a play around with the tool by entering your postcode or a place name. The prototype has been built on Google Maps and hence it understands most place names, street names and zip codes that Google maps understands.

A few dimensions do extra clever bits. For example, the Apollo 11 moon walk can be plotted over a desired route to visually experience the distance involved. Similarly you can plot Mars rovers tracks around your neighborhood.

We want to bring home the human scale of events and places in history. The Apollo 11 Moon walk explored an area smaller than Trafalgar Square; the distance between your WW1 trench and the enemy could only be as much as from your front door to the street corner.


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