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Animated GIFs to Show Historical Changes?

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
Messages
3,223
Points
29
Anyone here ever make an animated GIF image to show how change has occurred over time in your community? I had some spare time to mess around with this technique for a client I am working with. I guess I'm looking for some feedback. That is, what is the utility of such an image? Other than the WOW-Factor for a final project presentation - in PowerPoint, of course - to the community, I don't see any use for this kind of work.

Here is the link to the animation I made. I took a screencap of a MrSID aerial in ArcView and put it over a 1901 plat map of the community. I made the animation in Adobe ImageReady. I think it turned out okay, but it is clunky. Careful, its 600 kb in size.

Here is the original scan of the 1901 plat map.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
NERD!! Just kidding. That is cool. I have never made an animated GIF, but I can think of a lot of situations where I could use that technique. We have numerous redevelopment projects that I would like to track with photos, now I know what to do with them when the project is complete.
 
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7,649
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Wanigas? said:
Anyone here ever make an animated GIF image to show how change has occurred over time in your community? I had some spare time to mess around with this technique for a client I am working with. I guess I'm looking for some feedback. That is, what is the utility of such an image? [/URL].

I am not sure, but I know that some groups are working on HOW to do GIS "in the 4th dimension"-- ie, over time. I really like the idea, although I have no idea how to do an animated GIF. If you did low res images, is it something you could add to a website? I have been to some "historical" stuff, in both Manhattan Kansas and in Richland Washington, and they always did pictures of what the place looked like over time. I think an animated GIF showing several pictures in order -- kind of like the link Dan posted, but more "close up" -- could have real potential for a town website

I go to town websites and they don't tell you where the heck they are in very clear terms. It makes me nuts. I am on the world wide web -- I can be 'anywhere' and, from my perspective, so can they! It is not just "locals" that visit such websites. If it were done in a fashion that wasn't horribly cumbersome to download, I think it could help give folks a real sense of a place. I think most websites about a place really lack context for the visitors. It is a real shame.
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
Messages
3,223
Points
29
Repo Man said:
NERD!! Just kidding. That is cool.

Thanks!


Dan said:
jordanb might be interested in this animated gif illustrating the growth of Chicago's urbanized area.

That's badass! I like it!

Here's an animation I did of Detroit, back when I was a grad student before the 2000 Census came out, showing increasing concentrations of the Hispanic/Latino populations in Detroit, specifically for the southwest Detroit/Mexicantown area. It's based on Census tracts.

http://personal.www.umich.edu/~abean/gis/animate.gif


Michele Zone said:
but I know that some groups are working on HOW to do GIS "in the 4th dimension"-- ie, over time.

Ohhh! The 4th Dimension! That's a cool way of putting it! "City Planning in the 4th Dimension, and beyoooooooond....."
 
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Wanigas? said:
Ohhh! The 4th Dimension! That's a cool way of putting it! "City Planning in the 4th Dimension, and beyoooooooond....."

I have, intermittently, played with the idea of putting that into a description for my business. But I can never quite get it right. I keep thinking of something like "4D Design" and wanting to make a play on words with the "4D" part: like 'what are the 4 D's of design work?' I use my first name less and less but it does start with a D. But I don't think that will ever make it into ANYTHING, as I am leaving that name (and the part of my life it seems to symbolize) more and more behind me. The most recent idea I jotted down on a piece of paper would be to make a vertical list of 4 D's in a column and have each one be part of a phrase (of course, I don't know how to format it that way for Cyburbia)...er, I think I will chicken out. lol. It sounds so lame now.

Anyway, some of what I have read suggests to me that the biggest challenges in any design work is to do designs that are "timeless" -- that will work well over a long period of time and not become "dated" too quickly. I haven't pursued the idea as much as I would like but I picked up a few books that looked at cities over time or design over time. One of them used historical photos with ovelays of what the city looks like "now", with cut-outs for the parts of the city that still look the same, even if only individuals buildings. I really liked that idea.

My ever-so-geeky kids have a physics book called 'Geometry, relativity, and the 4th dimension' (and some others but I think this is the book that this idea is from) that talked about what 3 dimensional stuff would look like from a 2D perspective: that if you were in a 2D reality and encountered a Sphere, it would pass through the 2D reality in the following manner: It would first appear to be a point, then "grow" to a circle, then grow ever larger, and then begin to shrink, until it became a point again and then disappeared. From there, we talked about what things would "appear" like from a 4th dimensional perspective: that humans are born as small creatures, they grow bigger, as they get old, they typically begin to "shrink" some, and eventually die. If you were a 4th dimensional being, you would see (in theory) the entirety of this person's life, from birth to death, and from that perspective, humans only see a "circle" where there is a "sphere": we see a person (or place or whatever) as they are now but do not see what they were like in the past or what they will be like in the future.

Yet humans are increasingly fascinated with such topics, and this is showing up in our literature and movies, etc. There is some movie called "The Butterfly Effect" that implies it is about time travel (but I have also seen a suggestion that there is really some other explanation in the movie) and you see "alternate" time lines/outcomes in varius Star Trek episodes, etc. As planners, in theory at least, we are supposed to be looking at places in 4D: honoring the past, resolving problems in the present, and planning things so that the future is even better. It can be enormously difficult to balance those 3 things but it seems to me that balancing them is what typically gets you the "best" results: People need a sense of history and when you level an entire neighborhood and build anew from scratch, the result is what Jane Jacobs describes as 'it was always Dead, but nobody noticed until the corpse began to smell'. Yet, if you over-emphasize the past, you strangle viable solutions for the present and the future. Looking too much to "the future" -- which will grow organically out of the present and past, over time, and cannot be accurately predicted in all its glory -- often results in ridiculous and impractical ideas that are completely out of touch with reality. Focusing too much on the present can be a way to "shoot yourself in the foot" over the long term, a complaint many people make about our present consumptive lifestyle and how it is "gutting" the future of our planet and our society.

I think there *is* someplace where your idea could be used. You should play with the idea, make an idea folder, let it simmer on the back-burner and mature. Just because it isn't Obvious NOW what it is good for doesn't mean it has no use. Many things that SEEM 'obvious' or 'inevitable' in hindsight are "anything but" in foresight. And I am glad you posted your idea and question to the forum because it fits so well with my own "back burner" ponderings about how to represent design in 4D. :)
 

Doitnow

Cyburbian
Messages
496
Points
16
"City Planning in the 4th Dimension, and beyoooooooond....."
Sounds like a great topic for any undergrad or grad student to do thesis on.
All this animations have given me somw new ideas to present temporal changes in 2D and 3D.
Thanks. :-}
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,232
Points
52
Sweet...
I would love to be able to set up a interactive 4D GIS for some of the development for a historic city. would kind of be like the movie "The Time Machine" but being able to move though it... maybe even set in up in virtual reality.
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
Messages
3,223
Points
29
michaelskis said:
I would love to be able to set up a interactive 4D GIS for some of the development for a historic city.

You can also create other "dimensions" in GIS as well.

Take a look at accessibility, where the peaks represent connectivity and accessibility:



From:

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~sarhaus/image/solstice/win02/schlossb/visualaccess.htm
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
Messages
3,223
Points
29
Though this book is technically not an animation, my girlfriend who is a 2nd grade teacher turned me on to one of her Earth Day books the other day that shows a remarkable transition from untouched forests to a modern village. The book was A River Ran Wild: An Environmental History by Lynne Cherry:



This is a wonderful book. If you have it or go to a bookstore and browse through it, pay attention to the three illustrated two-page full-bleed spreads. The first one shows an untouched forest. The second a new industrial village taking form around a river. And finally, a fully built-out small town. If cut-out from the book, all three would line up exactly, as if in a GIS. It is a beautiful book and would work wonderfully for any of you who go into the classroom and talk about your job.
 
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