ChronoZoom: A real OMG moment in time!

What would happen if you could dive in and out of any particular moment of time within a brilliantly conceived visual interface that marries Prezi with the universe? Well, I’m not sure, but I bet it would look something like ChronoZoom.
I know it sounds silly or cliché but ChronoZoom ( is really jaw dropping! ChronoZoom takes a 13.7 billion year timeline and makes it fast, easy, and intuitive to move through the history of the universe (or the earth, or humanity, or the industrial revolution) at whatever scale and speed you like.  One moment you are at the beginnings of chemical complexity, the next you are the origins of agriculture.

basic chronozoom interface

For many of the “thresholds” there are resources that can be zoomed into providing images, text, and movies.

ChronoZoom was funded by Microsoft Research Connections in collaboration with University California at Berkeley and Moscow State University (the one in Russia, not Idaho) Although it is still mostly empty space, that is something that will change rapidly as it gains traction across the curriculum.
As a free tool, ChronoZoom runs in a web browser like most other websites except the experience is dramatically more interactive.  The project is built on HTML 5 coding that allows it to run on almost any modern web browsing device, and movement around the timeline is smooth, fairly seamless, and best of all in my opinion is that it takes advantage of gesture-input devices giving it a much more natural flow then possible by a mouse alone.
According to the website, “ChronoZoom is an open source community project dedicated to visualizing the history of everything to bridge the gap between the humanities and sciences using the story of Big History to easily understand all this information.”

ChronoZoom media interface

When zoomed into a topic or “threshold,” the available media presents itself and can be further zoomed into for consumption.

ChronoZoom reeks with potential including the suggested possibilities listed on the site such as:

  • Ability to create my personal canvas/timeline/tours
  • Ability to generate internal user bookmarks
  • Generate a chart dynamically and place it where I want on the timeline
  • Display curve and segmented line graphs, plot of events coded for magnitude
  • Phylogenetic trees
  • Svg drawing
  • Filter Exhibits based on subject
  • Choose data from data library
  • Customize time direction up and down, down to up, left to right, right to left
  • Comparison of timeline, Comparison of data, Comparison of data and timelines
  • Ability to share my timeline or tour with others via social networking
  • Ability to show uncertainty of dates (+/-)
  • Ability to show a time range and not only just a specific date in time
  • Ability to show multiple interpretations
  • Ability to show geo-spacial data

While the traditional applications of ChronoZoom in the classroom are many, it will be the as-yet unimagined uses that will rock education. So take ChronoZoom for a ride and post your travel adventures here.


This entry was posted in Science 2.0 and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to ChronoZoom: A real OMG moment in time!

  1. Lisa says:

    Wow! This website is a great resource for teachers and can be integrated into most subjects especially science, social, and math. I love how clicking a different year on the timeline actually makes you feel like you are traveling through time. As an added bonus this website is free! I will definetely be using this resource in my own classroom.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *