Peter Liu designed a new type of map that focuses on travel time rather than location

Prior to the introduction of smart phones or digital sources, a traditional map featured a scaled-down world for someone to figure out where they needed to go—and to guess how long it would take to arrive at the destination. While digital maps have made it easier to estimate travel time, these are still made with the look of older maps. Software engineer Peter Liu, who works at Mapbox, decided to create a new way of mapping by using a circular projection that allows a reader to understand a destination not by its location but primarily by how long it takes to get there.

Liu was inspired by the design of some city maps containing circles detailing the person’s distance away from certain venues. Though he found the city maps detailing the distance helpful, he felt they were inaccurate. The individual reading the map was still forced to guess how long walking that distance would take them. Plus, it wasn’t always a straight path, which could add extra time.

The new map Liu designed looks like a radar with several concentric circles. Though it looks like the design of those city maps, Liu’s map features bold lines indicating 10-minute intervals of travel time. The faster a person could arrive at the location, the closer the establishment’s name sat to the center of the circle. When a person decides on the location they’d like to go to, they can click on the location’s name to be redirected to a more traditional map to guide them more specifically.

Liu’s reinvented map remains a prototype. Because Liu focused on ensuring sure the map functioned properly, the search engine doesn’t always work. However, when the map integrates with other apps, it could use the app’s search engine to locate restaurants and establishments users want to visit.

Time Map

Prior to the introduction of smart phones or digital sources, a traditional map featured a scaled-down world for someone to figure out where they needed to go—and to guess how long it would take to arrive at the destination. While digital maps have made it easier to estimate travel time, these are still made with the look of older maps. Software engineer Peter Liu, who works at Mapbox, decided to create a new way of mapping by using a circular projection that allows a reader to understand a destination not by its location but primarily by how long it takes to get there.