How to draw an isochrone

by Louisa Bainbridge
on Sep 8, 2017

Have you ever wanted to see all possible locations you can visit within a specific time frame? Francis Galton did, and in 1881 he made a colourful map that split the world into different shapes to understand which locations were reachable from London in 10+ days. This early map, pictured below, was the first of it's kind.

Isochronic_Passage_Chart_Francis_Galton_1881.jpg

London Isochronic Passage Chart Francis Galton 1881  - Learn more basics with our definition page.

Since then, many institutions have followed suit - and many  historical isochrone maps followed. Many GIS (Geographic Information Systems) include the ability to create travel time shape. But luckily you don't need amazing GIS or cartography skills to make isochrone maps anymore. If you know how to code it's possible to use an API to create an isochrone or if you don't, you can make your own in a few clicks using an app by clicking the link below and following the steps in this blog. 

ClickUsing an app to make an isochrone

Our TravelTime maps tool is free to use. Just sign up with an email to drag your marker to change the shape as many times as you wish. You can also layer up to 3 areas on the same map at once. Just use the search bar to fill in where you'd like to search from, pick a transport mode and press go. 

isochrone-maker-search-bar

This creates a unique travel time shape that changes every time you move it's location, maximum travel time area or transport mode. The app uses public transport time tables, walking and cycling averages and road congestion data to create a shape that's as accurate as possible for the searcher. You can also use the left hand search bar to find hotels, shops and more within the travel time area.  

how-to-draw-an-isochrone

You can also add extra shapes to understand which areas are reachable from more than starting location. For example the shape below highlights which hotels would be best for someone to stay at if they need to have public transport access to the Upper West Side of Manhattan and Newark. 

how-to-draw-an-isochrone

Check out our isochrone guide page for more detail on how to draw an isochroneWe'd love to get your feedback on this tool - which countries would you like to see and what do you use isochrones for? Email us at sales@traveltime.com

 

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