The Map Was Alive with the Sound of Earthquakes

I recently saw a tweet highlighting a Youtube video showing 2011 earthquakes as a dynamic time lapse map. You can watch it on Youtube.

During the 9 minute video of a single map, the viewer is shown various sized rings at each epicenter location. The ring’s size is dependent on the magnitude of the quake.This in itself might not make for an exciting video. What captures your attention is the addition of sound corresponding to each earthquake presented. Each time one of the quake rings appear the map makes a short click. As the magnitude increases, so does the volume of the click. The video moves quickly covering days in just seconds and revealing the hundreds of earthquakes each month throughout the world.

It is profoundly disquieting and surprising when you see and hear the March quake near Japan that caused the tsunami and subsequent nuclear meltdown that is still affecting the people of Japan.

One could easily interpret the map with only its visual symbology but having sound represent an attribute of each quake represented by the ring symbol gives the destructive reality of high magnitude quakes more realism. It just made me wonder what the future might hold for sound symbol integration in GIS. Is there any point? Would there be any widespread application?

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