Tidal information can be presented schematically, where each number depicts the height of the tide at a given hour (columns) on a given date (rows).


Tidal information can also be represented in the form of a line graph, where the height of the tide is read off the vertical axis and time is read off the horizontal axis. In this example, the horizontal axis extends over seven days.


A graphical user interface makes it possible to present a series of daily tide graphs in a temporal sequence, which reduces the area needed to display the graphs. Instead of displaying the daily tidal figures side by side, they can be presented one day at a time within the same graph, with forward and back buttons used to display the next or previous day.

Tidal variation is the factor that most determines when to go surfing. Wave shape and the whole pattern of the surf changes with the tide, more or less hour to hour. On successive days, the tides are an hour later each day because the moon orbits the planet in the same direction as the planet spins. Since the moon advances in its orbit during the course of a day, it takes about an hour extra for your location to catch up to the moon and the tide that follows it.

Since the phases of the moon concern its position relative to the lit side of the earth, the timing of the tide reflects the lunar cycle. In the course of a week following a full or new moon, high tides occur during the middle of the day and the middle of the night. For instance, at the beginning of the week following a full moon, high tide is in the middle of the morning. Since the tide returns about an hour later than it did the day before, by the end of the week, high tide is late in the afternoon, as a low tide week begins.

Tidal variations vary greatly across the globe. For example, the tidal range in Hawaii is typically less than one meter. However, Indonesia, Panama and Ireland experience 2-3 meter tide fluctuations. Such extreme tidal variation has a major affect on surf conditions. So, surf travelers have to take it into account, when deciding on the best time to book a surf trip. This was the inspiration behind Dan Webber's interactive multimedia design for displaying tide graphs. Despite providing insight into tidal variation, the innovation failed to find a market; possibly because surf travel providers don't really stand to gain from providing such detailed information.


The advantage of this interactive design is the ease of locating a tide graph within a temporal series. A succession of graphs is activated by dragging the cursor sideways across the face of the graph. The sideways movement of the cursor creates an interactive animation showing how the tidal pattern changes from day to day.

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