Storytelling with the Space-Time Cube

Menno-Jan Kraak, Irma Kveladze

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingResearch


Events that include movements can be well visualized in the space-time cube, which represents space in the horizontal plane and time along the vertical axis. The strength of a visualization in the space-time cube, compared to a map is that an event's temporal characteristics are emphasized and insightfully represented in a 3d environment. Stories about events can be told using interactive maps and annotations. It allows readers to explore them in their geographic context. The space-time cube is a suitable environment to tell the story, because next to the geographic context the temporal context is naturally included. As such it for instance offers one the option to locate historical events in todays context. Although one can study an event as it happened, that is in a strict temporal sequence, the strength of the space-time cube is that the story can be told from different perspectives. The interactive environment not only allows one to literally look from different angles at the representation, but with highlighting functionality embedded one can focus on time, space or even attribute characteristics of events in their context. The case study used to explore the story telling capabilities of the space-time cube is a historical event, Napoleon's crossing of the Berezina River in 1812. Via multiple temporal layers this historical event is linked to a field trip of the authors two hundred years later. Both events are coupled via personal histories and artifacts and visually enhanced using highlighting functionality. The relation between both events clarifies and personalizes history.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAmerican Association of Geographers 2016 (AAG) : book of abstracts
Place of PublicationSan Francisco
PublisherAssociation of American Geographers
Publication date31 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventAAG 2016: American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting - San Francisco, San Francisco, United States
Duration: 29 Mar 20162 Apr 2016


ConferenceAAG 2016
LocationSan Francisco
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco

Bibliographical note

American Association of Geographers (AAG)


  • Space-Time Cube


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