Interactive map identifies Melburnians' 5km 'Friend Zone'

With Melbourne residents prevented from going further than 5km from home during lockdown, a map developed by Monash University researchers is making it easier to see a friend outdoors.

The tool, called Melbourne Friend Zone, allows users to plug in their address along with their friend's location to see if the 5km radius between each location overlaps. In addition to clearly identifying your 5km range, the map also pin points nearby barbecue facilities and playgrounds to make the most of your two hours outside.

Developed by a team of researchers from the Faculty of Information Technology (IT), the intention was to build an interactive map that allowed Melburnians to stay connected with an easy-to-use online tool.

Since its launch less than a week ago, the platform has already had 1,900 unique users and is expected to grow with warm weather forecast for the weekend.

There are also plans to further enhance the map by enabling shareable links between users and creating a more friendly mobile phone interface.

The team of researchers includes Matthieu Herrmann and Arnaud Prouzeau, two Research Fellows, as well as François Petitjean, Affiliate Senior Lecturer. The three researchers specialise in data science and visualisation.

The 1.5 metre social distancing guidelines and mandatory masks are still applied with all outdoor gatherings.

To see how Melbourne Friend Zone works, please visit here.