Well, here it is! The Golden Hour website is an idea I’ve had for over a year now as I’ve wanted an easy to use site that shows, in a visually interesting way, how this period of beautiful light around dawn and dusk is a) Not an hour long and b) Varies dramatically in length as you travel around the world and through the year.

Only now that I’ve left my previous company to found a new venture do I find that I’ve had the time, and the brain space so to speak to devote some energy to the project and finally realise something that I hope you might enjoy.

I must first of all thank the huge open source community without which the site in it’s present form wouldn’t be possible. The mapping technology comes from the OSGeo project and openlayers in particular and is a great tool for integrating a range of GIS services into your websites. I have chosen to use a Microsoft Virtual Earth layer as my main map, but this was purely an aesthetic choice and I could just as easily have used a google map or an open source one – heck I could even let you, the user, choose which map to view. It really is a great resource.

As indeed is the amazing freeearth project by poly9. They provide the 3D globe which is just as interactive as the 2D map – I could allow you to click to locations on it like the 2D one, but have chosen to have the globe gently track your location on the 2D map for now as the globe’s purpose on my site is to show the live position of the day-night terminator.

The client side of the site is powered by the amazing jQuery library without which the project would have taken me months, and not the week from start to finish that it actually took once I hunkered down to it.

Next there are the astronomical calculations. I confess I really want to rewrite all of this as the code I am using (which I have licensed from elsewhere) was designed several years ago for another purpose and has proved extraordinarily difficult to work with, indeed that has been my main challenge for this project. The rewrite will have to wait though as I have a day job to be doing that needs my time too!

Please do comment on the site as it has been your encouragement on other forums that have led to some tweaks already such as the extension to local time and the addition of the azimuth display – I’m happy to do more work to the site as time permits so do add some comments!

Roger Moffatt

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