Andrew Maddison


Chronhorama Project Idea

I suffer from a surfeit of ideas and not enough time and willpower to get them all finished (coughany finished). Most never leave the confines of my head. I’ve mulled over giving a lightning talk called “Ideas I’ve had but will never get round to”, so that if anyone else thought they were good ideas, maybe they could implement it.

I thought I ought to tell people about them. So here’s one of them:

Introducing Chronhorama

From the Greek: Chronos (time) and horan/horama (see/view). (Name only recently made up and liable to change at any moment)

The gist of it is: a sort of time traveling google streetview of my own garden.


I’m currently working on a bit of hardware (because that’s fun). A motorised turntable, controlled by an Arduino, that can position a camera quickly and consistently. The x-axis turntable is almost ready to be sent away for laser cutting. The Y axis is going to be phase two and will be a bit trickier. It’, still in the mulling-over phase. My progress so far is now public and open source on bitbucket.

Phase three will be to get a raspberry pi to control both the turntable (via the Arduino) and the camera (via usb) to take a whole panorama automatically. Coincidentally, the same setup could probably serve as a gigapixel rig or a time-lapse setup.

Finally, once I’ve got a few panoramas, I plan to shove it all up on a website so you can pan and scroll around a virtual view of my garden (or anywhere else). The nifty thing is, there will also be a control to travel back in time to see the same panorama on a previous date.


I’ve got a new garden I don’t know very well and I often find myself trying to remember what was growing in a spot months earlier so that I know if I’m about to hide/enhance/kill it. If I can take seasonal panoramas, I can simply refer back to the website and see that nondiscript bush (A) was covered in flowers last summer, while non-descript bush (B) is a sucker that can get hacked, hoicked and composted with appropriate malice.

Yeah, but…Why? It all seems a bit overcomplicated.

I’m not re-inventing the wheel, I’m merely re-implementing it. How else do you learn to be a wheelwright?

More accurately, it’s fun, it’s blog fodder and I want to.