The makers of data visualization tool ChronoZoom set out to build a better timeline. While ordinary timelines work well for events that happen on a single time scale, like presidential elections or ice ages, it is often difficult to display events on different time scales with the same visualization. If you tried to show presidential elections and ice ages together, all the elections would all be crammed together to one end, nearly invisible. ChronoZoom solves the problem by adding a zooming component, which lets users view smaller and smaller time scales intuitively and accurately.
The open-source platform, which also includes a growing database of events from the formation of the cosmos to the founding of the ChronoZoom project itself, was developed by a team at UC Berkeley, with help from Microsoft Research, Moscow State University and the University of Washington. Although it was released in 2012, the tool has made the news again this week with the announcement of a competition to find the best visualization using its data and visualization capabilities.