OneZoom 3.3: One Tree One Planet

Jamie Lentin

OneZoom is an organisation dedicated to developing the OneZoom Tree of Life explorer, a web application that allows you see the relationships between all life on earth in one zoomable, pannable tree.

Version 3.3 of OneZoom was to be embedded with the application of the One Tree One Planet project, a collaboration with artist Naziha Mestaoui.

Shuttle Thread was responsible for all client-side Javascript for the release, including:

Javascript performance enhancements

One of the main differences in the One Tree One Planet is that nodes are arranged in a Polytomy view. Before a node would only branch into 2, now there could be any number of branches from one ascendant. This created a scaling problem, suddenly many more nodes could be visible on-screen at the same time. For example, there are 2,300 species of Brambles, all of which can be on-screen and rendered.

  • Profiling and performance analysis to find hot-spots in existing code
  • Control the amount of detail rendered on-screen to ensure the site stays responsive
  • Improving energy consumption; avoiding repeated work when nothing has changed
  • Suggestions on how to re-architect OneZoom in the future

Theming and animation

As well as improving performance OneZoom had to fit in with the rest of the One Tree One Planet aesthetic. This meant working with the rest of the One Tree One Planet team to style the tree view to match other visuals, and using techniques such as CSS3D to add background animations that create a more immersive experience whilst keeping the load from affecting the main OneZoom interface.