Isochrone Maps 2017 in Review

It has been a great year as an isochrone map enthusiast and I would like share some of my favourite maps of 2017. Elsewhere on this blog I have already shared Michael Zeiler’s Travel time to the solar eclipse for all solar eclipse enthusiasts wishing to drive to the centre line, however I hear on August the 21st there was an arc of traffic jams across the United States.

Travel time by car and scheduled flight

Adrian Frith produced a beautiful isochrone map of South Africa starting from Johannesburg. Calculated with pgRouting using OpenStreetMap data (downloaded from here). Flight times are from the published airline schedules.


An Isochrone Warped Map

Nate Parrot programmed an interactive version of the NYC subway network that then warps to show the travel time to different stations. Two isochrone travel time lines are include in the map, marking 30 minutes and 60 minutes, they are circles and the subway lines are instead warped to their time distance from the starting station.

NYC Subway traveltime
NYC Subway Travel Time Map by Nate Parrot

Isochrone Heartbeat Maps

Esri UK calculate the travel distance possible in 60 minutes time for 4pm, 7pm and 10pm on a Friday night for 10 different cities in the United Kingdom. They also calculated and animated a version for every hour of the day for London.

esri uk London 2.gif
Esri UK: isochrone map from London during a typical Friday

On the other side of the Atlantic Esri has also calculated similar heart beat isochrone maps for five major airports in the USA, LAX, DFW, ORD, ATL and JFK.


R.. Klinger aka ricckli has calculated similar maps for the cities around Berlin and for Chicago with ArcGIS Pro using the ArcGIS Online Network dataset. Looking forward to an how to article at Digital Geography.

How far can you drive by car in Chicago by ricckli

Thousands of Isochrone Maps combined.

Lauri Vanhala was looking for an apartment and wanted to have an apartment that can be reached easily from everywhere in Helsinki and from where Lauri can easily get to everywhere. Well what to do? Lauri calculated an isochrone map for every address in Helsinki and combined them to see which parts of the city are best connected.  The map is shared under

Lauri Vanhala Helsinki, which neighbourhoods are best connected by Lauri Vanhala

Isochrone Driving Maps of the World

Using graphhopper Peter has added drive times to the train travel times for a 214 different cities in six continents at

Travel time from Santiago by Peter Kerpedjiev

Isochrone Software

Anita Graser´s blog has written extensively on how to create isochrone maps with QGIS. Including recently a guest post by Chris Kohler Drive-time Isochrones from a single Shapefile using QGIS, PostGIS, and Pgrouting.

Drive Time Isochrone Map by Chris Kohler

Other sites have been active at isochrone maps as well. Mapzen added an isochrone feature and iGeolise launched their TravelTimePlatform which is aimed to support companies, e.g. where is the best place to locate an office that would provide an area with service. Time to anywhere, Mapnificent and Far From gives you isochrone maps for cars and public transport for the United Kingdom.  Mapbox has an isochrone map feature for more places.

The Institute of Geography of the University of Heidelberg includes isochrone maps now in its Openroute Service. And also check out Graphhopper and Route360 (e.g Hamburg). Similar to Lauri`s Helsinki map, Walkshed is project working to map where cities are walkable. All the different software that is available is only as good as the data it builds on, and this year I got the chance to get some insights in an industry I figure has the best long range data. It is not any of the big technology companies or even satellite navigation providers but the freight sector has years of data for every large road section, for every day of the year and every hour 10-20 minutes of the day. Some are using available software and others have some pretty complicated in house programs for their lorries/trucks on the road.

Google maps and HERE have had an isochrone feature for a while now and I am euphoric that many articles that have used this kind of map to explain our world.

Isochrone map for cities in the continental 48 from this article by the Washington Post, using isochrone lines.

Edit 2018.08.29:
Updated TravelTimePlatform link

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s