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Time to map out an engineering connection


I love engineers.Well, the ones who don't suck their teeth and ask why on earth an architect would want to do that. But you worry about engineers who go selfconsciously off the wall.

One such may be Mark Whitby of Whitby Bird with his Engineering Timelines at www. engineeringtimelines. com.Actually it's all lowercase 'engineering timelines' in a butch Typewriter-style face and written vertically dividing the sidebar zone from the main zone on screen. If we had been meant to read text sideways we would have had our eyes located above and below our noses.Whatever, you have five possible things to do or look at (the syntax is not all that consistent).They are: 'create a timeline', 'engineer of the year', 'bibliography', 'home'and 'help'.

You are already on the home page, the bibliography is a list of the relatively limited number of sources. Engineer of the year is, uncontroversially, Robert Stephenson. You can create a timeline but the procedure is not immediately obvious.So you click 'help', not least because you are not really clear why you should want to create an engineering timeline, especially when you are not all that clear what one is.

Aha, here it says an engineering timeline 'is the name we give to any combination of items or events in the history of engineering which can be located on a map of the UK'. This is 'the brainchild of Mark Whitby[who was] struck by the possibilities a website could offer for uncovering historical and geographical connections and coincidences in the story of engineering'. Er, if you say so.

Anyway I tried to devise a timeline with these keywords: millennium bridge, Chris Wise, Tony Fitzpatrick, Arup, Foster.The respective results were: a map of London with a pin stuck in it on the Thames; a box with 'Sorry, no items match your search criteria'- twice; a map of the UK with eight dots; a map of the UK with three dots;

Arup with eight significant UK works;

Foster three. Plainly a work in progress.

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