MapTime is still in development and documentation is in the process of being written around the day jobs of those involved. For the first-time user, here is a quick guide to how to use the website. This will be fleshed out into some more informative documentation in time, so please let us know which bits are particularly unclear or need more explanation.
The MapTime website (www.maptime.co.uk) currently has only a single TimeLine. (This will be explained in a future post.) You do not, therefore, need to worry about which TimeLine or TimePoints to use when you first visit the site - the only thing to worry about is where you want the course of Organic Evolution to be plotted. Click on the "TimePoint" tab if you want an explanation of the current time points in the system, or just click "TimeLine" to get started.
This will open up the main TimeLine page, which lists, for your information, the time points that will be plotted. Most of these come from The New Scientist evolution of life page, for reasons we will explain another time. For now, just scroll down to the map so that you can get started.
To make a MapTimeline, you only really need two things: (1) an end point, usually where you currently are (or intend to give your Deep Time lecture), and (2) a start point, which should be somewhere your audience will know. At this stage, it matters not if you do not have a (2) - you can always experiment later. To give an example that will hopefully resonate with most people, I will create a MapTimeline that goes from John o'Groats in Scotland to Land's End in Cornwall - the furthest two points apart on the British mainland.