7 Eye-Popping Interactive Timelines


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1. 50th Anniversary of NASA

An animated robot named Automa is your guide for an interactive timeline of 50 years of NASA’s accomplishments. The site is both a visual feast and educational.

2. NY Times: How a Market Crisis Unfolded

The New York Times encapsulates the ongoing U.S. financial crisis in a timeline that combines photos, audio and existing stories in one well-rounded interactive package.

3. TimeSpace: Election

The Washington Post’s audacious effort to wrangle election photos, video, articles and more into one space takes a little effort to understand, so they threw in a how-to video. But the concept is remarkable: it shows when and where political events happened, right down to the street level.

4. C-SPAN Debate Timeline

The Oct. 15 debate between presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama is broken down into colored rectangles that signify the different issues covered that night, as well as the individual speaker. Clicking on the sections brings up a transcript of that portion of the debate and a link to a corresponding video.

5. Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure

If you don’t finish National Geographic’s visual explanation of undersea creatures with a thorough understanding of them, you just weren’t paying attention.

6. British Timeline

The BBC has a number of timelines that explore facets of British history, but this particular one spans from the prehistoric Neolithic and Bronze Ages to the events of present day.

7. 2008 US Movie Box Office

The year’s top-grossing films are beautifully visualized in this horizontal scrolling timeline that makes it easy to see the life span of movie powerhouses like Iron Man and The Dark Knight

If producing Flash-based timelines isn’t quite your area of expertise, there are a few free online services that will help you create a timeline without much effort:


Dipity is the go-to source for creating timelines with ease. Users can add dates manually or by uploading any RSS feed. Dipity users have found some creative uses for the online tool, including today’s top stories presented in timeline form and a visual chronicle of the popularity of internet memes.


Anyone can create an embeddable timeline like the one below of the history of computer games for free.


Finally, Viewzi is a visual search engine that offers a number of ways to view results, including a timeline. While it’s not clear if the timeline view is or will be embeddable, each individual search is linkable for reference purposes.

Previous timeline coverage:
How to create embeddable timelines with xtimeline