Unveiling Plingorama

Plingorama in Knowsley

Plingorama in Knowsley

We’re very happy to announce our first prototype of Plingorama, an interactive visualization of Plings data (Flash required). This first outing shows the where and when of Plings in a selected area. Pan around the map to find out what’s going on, and zoom out for a heat map of activity in Greater Manchester.

Plingorama’s customized map has been built using Cloudmade. This service makes use of crowd-sourced Open Street Maps data, and allows you to pick and choose colors and styles for map features. We particularly like the way we can include public transport and cycle paths on the display.

Hot spots

Activity in and around any city tends to be concentrated around a few areas. At lower resolutions, it’s easy to loose these patterns if you try to mark everything with a pin. We can fix this with a heat map, which highlights the activity hotspots in orange. Zoom in, and the colour code is repeated, so that venues with multiple events show up in orange, turning to red the more busy they become. This way, you can easily see where the action is near you.

Tell us what you think!

Plingorama can be customized to show places to go and things to do in any neighborhood, and will be available during the Summer of Plings. Pretty soon, we’ll be bringing in new features, such as keyword filtering, searching and further browsing options.

In the meantime, we’re eager to hear from you. If you’re involved with Plings and you’d like to help us develop the service in your area, please contact us to join our feedback panel, and we’ll provide a custom view of your region. What would you like to see? Found any bugs or other problems with Plingorama? Tell us about it!

3 Comments Project news, Sharing Plings , , Permalink

3 Responses to Unveiling Plingorama

  1. Tim C says:

    Great stuff guys. I think this looks good but wonder if there might be some useability issues for the uninitiated. I guess I’ve had the benefit of having had some early ideas and functions explained but I wonder if you came to this blind if you would automatically understand the distinction between the visualisations of where at the top and the visualisations of when at the bottom. It’s easier to ‘get’ the first with the balloons relating to venues but perhaps the ‘when’ bars are harder to grasp and navigate. I think some form of timeline would help. I also think it would help if you could visualise where and when together so by clicking on a particular time ‘zone/column’ the balloons appear for ALL the venues that have plings at that time. It just feels as though we might be more in control of the visualisation than the user at the moment. Perhaps these things are in hand but thought I’d raise the points and see what others felt.

    Cheers T

  2. lizturner says:

    Hi Tim,

    Many thanks for your comments. This confirms some issues we’re aware of, along with some great suggestions.

    We’re already working to simplify the appearance of the timeline, and we’ll be adding more detail to the design so that times of day will be clear.

    Other features you can expect to see in future are a pop-up calendar, so that you can jump to a specific date, a filtering menu for common keywords, and a post code search for a specific neighborhood.

    Please keep comments and suggestions coming!


  3. Peter Ashe says:

    re the timeline point raised above, would the ‘play’ function on the Met Office regional forecasts for the next 5 days be any sort of model? See middle left of the page here for what I mean: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/dg/dg_forecast_weather.html

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