Tag Archives: Scale

Using web technology to show scale

Screen Shot 2014-03-08 at 11.09.31I blogged on this subject a while ago. Here’s another example to add. The creator Josh Worth describes it as a tediously accurate scale model of the solar system. I love the simplicity and humour.

The planets are scrolled to horizontally or jumped to via a series of buttons at the top of the page. In addition, Worth includes writing out in the vast nothingness of space to give a better feel for exactly how much of it there actually is.

Thank you Josh.

I was talking about the planets with my 5-year-old daughter the other day. I was trying to explain how taking a summer vacation to Mars in the future will be a much bigger undertaking than a trip to Palm Springs (though equally as hot). I kept trying to describe the distance using metaphors like “if the earth was the size of a golf ball, then Mars would be across the soccer field” etc., but I realized I didn’t really know much about these distances, besides the fact that they were really large and hard to understand. Pictures in books, planetarium models, even telescopes are pretty misleading when it comes to judging just how big the universe can be. Are we doing ourselves a disservice by ignoring all the emptiness?

So I thought I would see if a computer screen could help make a map of a solar system that’s a bit more accurate (while teaching myself a few things about javascript, SVGs and viewports along the way).

Not that pixels are any better at representing scale than golfballs, but they’re our main way of interpreting most information these days, so why not the solar system?