Time(-lapse), Environment and Landscape

For the second half of this term I’m teaching the ‘Time, Environment and Landscape’ module of the First year undergraduate class ‘Geography Concepts, Skills and Methods’ at KCL.

Today was my first lecture, on ‘time’. I talked about some of the issues we need to take into consideration when we are collecting data over time, and then how that influences what we can see from the data and how we analyse them (i.e., time-series analysis). To help think through some of the considerations I used some time-lapse movies of landscapes.

I’ve been experimenting with making my own time-lapse videos after getting a remote control for my dSLR last year. In lectures the movies are useful for illustrating how our understanding of things is influenced by the frequency and duration over which we sample our data collection.

As one of the datasets we’ll be analysing in the computer practical sessions that go with the lectures on this module is the Keeling curve, at the outset of the lecture today I showed this movie of some of some Hawaiian landscapes:

Mauna Lapse: From Sea to Summit from The Upthink Lab on Vimeo.

Then, later in the lecture, to get students thinking about how sampling data ‘compresses’ time so that we can see things differently, I showed this movie of the Jorge Montt Glacier in Chile:

Jorge Montt Glacier, Chile (English) TL from Centro de Estudios Científicos on Vimeo.

Finally, we looked at some time-lapse movies I made myself. I show the students different versions of the same video (below) to illustrate how different sampling frequencies combined with different numbers of photos (data points) changes what we can see happening.

Thames Time-Lapse 1 from James Millington on Vimeo.

You can see more time-lapse movies I’ve made in my vimeo album. Once I’ve got enough maybe I’ll try stitching them together with some music like that fancy Hawaii one!

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