London Bridge

One of the first directions we had for this project was the use of tunnels, specifically Woolwich foot tunnel. An initial was to visualise what we couldn’t see assed the tunnels walls. We then moved onto bridges. A direction I had advocated for was a speculative lookout the usage of bridges as a platform for measuring cultural change. 

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London Bridge wireframe • David Valente

The wireframe above would visualise how London Bridge was once“battle-fieldand a place of religious worship”, now as a transport link, and in the future. As changes to the surrounding landscape, jobs and transport — such as Elon Musk’s Boring car superhighways; how could the construct of a bridge be used. This way of thinking lead us to thinking of the Thames as an urban environment. 

We soon found ourselves facing a problem I’ve had for years paddling on the tidal Thames. To be able to easily interpret tidal data and plan a paddle on the river. Most, if not all,(rowing)boat houses have tide table spreadsheets pinned to a noticeboard somewhere. I found myself using apps like this, to get the tide data. However, this is a frustrating eye-darting between the current time, the tide chart and the river itself, to evaluate a very simple problem. To plan a short paddle, one would typically paddle against the tide and come back with it. For an all day trip one may want to go with it both in directions and have lunch at slack water.

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This reading of tide data is very accessible but very hard to interpret. In contrast there are many interface with horizontal chart like the one of the bottom of this screenshot.

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Screenshot from tidetimes.org.uk

At a different scale this is, in some cases, much more useful to judge when you’ll go out on the water.I particularly like this one as it includes the sun ride and set times. Something I would search every time I went out in the evening or early morning. One concept they have included why I find myself falling into often is mapping time based events onto an analogue clock construct. Using blue and orange they have mapped high and low. On one hand this is great if planning for the near future(fewhours), however the contrast between 24 hour digital and analogue make this a bit confusing.

As for selecting gar location, many apps including the met office websiteuse a interactive map with pins to select the location to read tide tables form. This seems intuitive, however proves to be fairly frustrating. In the same sense the inaccurate london tube map is more readable, so is in this case. I would much prefer to select from a geographically accurate list. This works particularly well for the River Thames as it runs for the most part in a linear fashion with few tributaries.

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