Bike charts by Google

2010-02-18, , Comments

I’ve liked the Google chart API ever since I first discovered it. Pack a text definition of an image into a URL http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?YOUR-IMAGE-HERE and you’ll be served up a freshly cooked PNG. It’s free. There’s not even a watermark.

Swing-o-meter, Nice!
http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?  # A chart, please
    &chs=320x160                     # sized 320x160 pixels
    &cht=gom                         # of type swingometer
    &chd=t:70                        # with 70% swing
    &chl=Nice!                       # labeled "Nice!"

Gone are the days when the documentation fitted on a single web-page. The API has fattened up and filled out. Every time I visit something new has been added: mathematical formulae written in TeX; a playground where you can sketch a chart directly; a validation option which tells you where you went wrong — much more helpful than a bare 404.

New to me: dynamic icons, which let you create “a variety of interesting callouts, pins, or bubbles that mix text and images”.

here's a thought... classic cycle charts Go for it!

Mercurial manxman Mark Cavendish won an incredible 6 stages of last year’s Tour. Here he is, becoming the first Briton ever to win the final showdown on the Champs-Élysées, and winning it by an immense margin. For me, it was a bitter-sweet moment: that sprint should have put Cav in the green jersey, but he’d thrown away his chance in the points competition earlier in the race with an act of petulance which I still struggle to understand.

Cavendish, first on the the Champs-Élysées

The Champs-Élysées may have a cobbled surface but it’s level and straight — definitely one for the sprinters. How about something twisted and mountainous? This second tableau recreates Fabian Cancellara’s dare-devil descent during stage 7 of last year’s tour. Defending the maillot jaune, Cancellara got dropped by the peleton following a wheel change. Watch him weave between team cars and camera bikes at top speed to regain his place. Awesome!

Cancellara descending

Now for a real classic — when Stephen Roche dug deep during an epic mountain stage in the 1987 Tour. Pedro Delgado, wearing yellow, had built a substantial lead over his rival on the climb up La Plagne. Yet somehow Roche clawed his way back into contention, appearing at the finish line just 5 seconds down on Delgado. He surprised everyone. He collapsed, exhausted, and had to be given oxygen, but he’d done enough. Roche went on to win the Tour. Formidable!

IT'S STEPHEN ROCHE!