Complexity of time zones explained

Posted to Maps  |  Tags: , ,  |  Nathan Yau

Do you understand how time zones work around the world and when exactly you need to move your watch forward or back? Me neither. BBC News provides a brief history of time zones via interactive globe.

Theoretically, the world should be divide into 24 equal time zones, in which each zone differs from the last by one hour. But as the years have passed, the world has turned into a much more complicated place. Time zones are now much more irregular and sometimes seem positively eccentric, affected as they are by political, geographical and social changes in the real world.

Rotate the globe to see where each time zone lands. Some of the zones seem relatively straight, but even in some areas like the GMT-2 time zone, there’s some crookedness. There must be some small islands there or something. It’s either that or the Royal Observatory is fond of puzzles. No, there aren’t any other options.

[BBC News via @kelsosCorner]

3 Comments

  • Nice map, and some interesting stories, but an annoying flash-based application. Once I click on an individual article (like “Split Time” above), I don’t see a way to head back to the main map.

    If I reload the page or hit the browser’s back button, I start to see more and more video advertisements, and I have to wait for the ad to finish before I can use the application again.

  • Stefan – you just click “Back to world view” underneath the small globe…

Favorites

How You Will Die

So far we’ve seen when you will die and how other people tend to die. Now let’s put the two together to see how and when you will die, given your sex, race, and age.

The Best Data Visualization Projects of 2011

I almost didn’t make a best-of list this year, but as I clicked through the year’s post, it was hard …

Real Chart Rules to Follow

There are rules—usually for specific chart types meant to be read in a specific way—that you shouldn’t break. When they are, everyone loses. This is that small handful.

A Day in the Life of Americans

I wanted to see how daily patterns emerge at the individual level and how a person’s entire day plays out. So I simulated 1,000 of them.