Maps Through Time
Main screen
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The system in situ
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This is another of my interactives for Aston Hall's "Astonish" gallery. We wanted to show how the Aston area has changed over time, so Aston Hall staff tracked down a series of maps from 1752 to 2000. My first job was to redraw all the maps, to make sure they covered exactly the same area, and to establish a consistent style.

It would have been fairly straightforward to use a touch screen interface to display the maps in sequence, but Aston wanted something a bit more tactile, with the feel of a time machine. So I built a mechanism with a handwheel. When turned, this runs through the sequence of maps on screen, and at the same time turns a "time dial" at the top of the unit. It's all very Jules Verne.

Aston was once a small village, but is now a suburb of Birmingham. The map sequence shows urbanisation creeping across the map like some monstrous bacterial growth. Older people, especially people from the Aston area, find the maps facinating. Kids do too, but mostly, they just like to spin the wheel.