Mapping shadows in cities: the solar trajectory in digital and interactive tools
Understanding how shadows will act in and around an area is a necessary understanding to ensure better spatial quality. Shadows can influence natural lighting – therefore the perception of space – and also thermal comfort issues. Thus, mapping your projections and visualizing their movements during each season of the year can be fundamental to improving your project. The good news is that there are simple tools that help you visualize this in your city and in natural environments.
To find out where the shadows are on a hot summer day or where to avoid them on a winter day, there are two interactive maps: shadow map and Shading Map.
These tools are easy to use: just access the website or mobile application of each map to visualize the location of the shadows throughout the day, being able to choose the date of the year and the place in the world. Both use a gray color layer to show shaded areas based on the local terrain and nearby building heights, i.e. they shadow natural features like mountains in the background. architecture built at each location. In addition, it is possible to rotate the map to view the masses built in perspective and, with this, analyze different points of view on how the shadow interferes in the environment.
To use them, simply put the desired data in the interactive bars. There’s a timeline control that lets you view shadow locations at any time of day and change the date to understand how shadow locations change over the year. By dragging this time control back and forth, the map automatically updates and, in a didactic way, shows the movement of the shadow during the daily route.