At 4:44 AM Tokyo time (practically three within the afternoon right here in Chicago) I’m glued to my display screen: a inexperienced block has simply handed the map icon for the reside feed I am watching, and I am curious what the time delay is. Seconds cross, and no practice comes into view. At round 4:46 a Yamanote line practice speeds previous on the YouTube stream. Two minute delay—not dangerous for half a world away.
Mini Tokyo 3D (opens in new tab) is a venture by Japanese developer Akihiko Kusanagi (opens in new tab). The web site presents a Google Maps-style 3D view of Tokyo paired with reside knowledge from its world well-known transit system, letting you observe together with subway trains in actual time. The location additionally collects 19 24-hour broadcasts from YouTube and matches them with their areas on the map, letting you zoom in on the road views of varied areas alongside Tokyo’s transit traces. Mini Tokyo 3D additionally tracks incoming and outgoing flights within the metropolis’s airspace, and you may lock the digital camera to observe particular person trains and planes on their paths.
The result’s larger than the sum of its elements—truthfully, it took my breath away and appears like a uncommon argument justifying the web lately (along with speaking about PC video games, its one true function). I watched a few utility staff end up a job close to one of many stations within the predawn gloom earlier than clicking over to a extra scenic spot to catch the dawn in a metropolis I’ve by no means been to. All of the whereas, I may see Tokyo come alive on the true time map as the primary morning trains started to run.
Mini Tokyo 3D jogs my memory of the harmless pleasure Google Earth evoked 15 years in the past, when simply zooming in on the trivia of some random a part of the world was thrilling. It is a venture that is charmed and unusually moved me, and it is also fully free. Mini Tokyo 3D has no advertisements, no requests that you simply like and subscribe or make an account. It asks nothing of you. It’s merely an expression of 1 particular person’s interest, left on the market for all to get pleasure from via the magic of the web.
However sufficient of me banging on about it—why not placed on some stress-free music and see what is going on on close to Takaosanguchi station (opens in new tab)? It is a good looking Saturday.