About MapTime

A Visualisation Tool for Deep Time created by Dr J.Parker and N.Asamoah


The website is a visualisation tool for deep time. 'Deep time' represents events that occured perhaps millions/ billions of years ago. There are very few existing tools which provide a good visual representation of this kind of time scale. Most people cannot comprehend or picture the magnitude of events thousands/ millions of years away. This website offers a solution by using Google Maps for the visualisation. Using Google Maps to plot a route that you are completely familiar with (and you know how long it takes to travel), the route can be used as an analogy where a TimeLine will be scaled down to your route giving you a better idea of the magnitude between events in your TimeLine.

How the Website Works

A 'TimePoint' is just an event and a 'TimeLine' is a collection of events. To actually see the visual representation of a TimeLine, click the See More button on any TimeLine and follow the step-by-step Google Maps instructions to produce a route of your choice. Clicking the Finish button at the end will display the route. Click maximise button and use the Print Screen button on your keyboard to take a screenshot (or Ctrl+C). Ensure the Google Maps copyright data (bottom right of any map) is visible in any screenshots you use of the map. There may be some errors when using Internet Explorer (64-bit) so it is recommended that you use another browser.

Why Google Maps

Google Maps is a free, widely known service which lends itself perfectly to the concept where the "destination guide circle" on a TimeLine suggests to the user the optimum area to place their destination marker (following the 1mm = 40 years scale). The suggested smallest distance that someone could comprehend is 0.5mm, where the maximum experienced time of a student is approx 20 years (therefore 1mm = 40 years). Please read "Using Google Earth to Teach the Magnitude of Deep Time" (Parker, 2011) for further details. Please see the MapTime blog for further information and to keep informed of future updates.