A History of the World in 100 Seconds

I attended the History Hackday at the Guardian and helped Gareth implement his cunning plan to scrape Wikipedia for all historical events with associated geo coordinates and present them chronologically.  The video above is the result.  Unfortunately I couldn’t be there on Sunday but whilst Gareth set about doing the hard bit, using Python and Mongo to extract the events from his dump of Wikipedia, I managed to code up a framework in Java for Gareth to produce the visualisation video from.  The dataset is pretty fuzzy, we went through each Wikipedia year page and kept all pages that were linked to for that year that also had coords.  I’m pretty pleased with the results, we won a prize for “best visualisation”, although I’d like to spend a little more time tweaking the graphics if I find the time.  The code is available on github.

The hackday itself was pretty cool, well stocked with beer, pizza and cool people. Props for a well organised event go to @fidothe, I’m sorry I couldn’t have been there for the whole thing.

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