Kelly -Cool Tools
The Media Lab
All Species Home
Web Map Design?
What are the right
questions to ask about users' experiences with new geospatial and
Research has launched the WWMX, the World-Wide Media
eXchange, (thanks Josh), "to
explore what we can do with a gazillion photos on a single
database indexed by their location:" (displayed on a
generic MS Mappoint Map, or on a custom MS.Net app.)
* Is there general
interest in such a database?
* Would people post
their own photos to it?
* Would anyone care
about photos taken by strangers? "
hacker, Chris Thorman, (who once reverse rendered a 3d image of the MIT
Media Lab with a video camera) suggests we imagine the
UNESCO World heritage
panorama photos combined with Jef
Raskin's fractal prototype for a
zooming human interface.. in an interface
that Chris and I once worked together on ."a globally mapped spatial view of the
world -- you could with a few keys and mouse clicks, you could soar
around the whole world finding and viewing these heritage sites."
While Raskins' ZUI (
Zoomable User Interface) shows photos
nested in a zoomable base map, it is still just a flash demo of
one seamless nested document, with no evident designs for users to edit
and add documents of their own. One of Jeff's prior hacks was similarly
scrolling interface for the CanonCat,
Giger's cool Earth Browser
is a nice smooth zoomable globe, but has no facilities for users' point
annotations or extensible attribute layers. Mikel Maron's new
Flash based worldKit enables users
create new kinds of maps of geocoded weblogs, RSS feeds, and
a zoom ui are listed as future features.
Schachter points out that ZUIs have been around for quite a while.
Here's a Java demo of
the Piccolo ZUI the latest
incarnation of Pad++ from University of Maryland, supports
zoomable text, (but not well calibrated at each level) and no zoomable
maps or images.(!)
Richard Saul Wurman and his team have produced a glitzy, but oddly flat
feeling graphical tour
of american statisticsand issues called: Understanding USA.
a catalog of information and resources. I was suprised to find no
Wurman's city map guides
are exemplary of fine design and readability. (Thanks Harvey Lehtman)
Before we design too
many more map interfaces, maybe we should pause to reread Wurman's 'Making the
City Observable, or Edward R. Tufte's
principles of Visual Explanations.Without
thinking too deeply we could create flawed systems like Power Point "
which has been Tufte's particular target : Here's a recent NYTimes
article on Tufte's criticisms of PowerPoint processed information:
Before the fatal end of
the shuttle Columbia's mission... NASA engineers used a
PowerPoint presentation to describe their investigation ... Mr. Tufte
said, a crucial piece of information —
that the chunk of foam was hundreds of times larger than anything that
had ever been tested — was relegated to the last point on the slide,
squeezed into insignificance on a frame that suggested damage to the
wing was minor."
maps can wreck similar
damage to the contextual integrity of
information in place.
IMHO, only some of
the designers of the cooler new spatial web and locative media web
sites or the old style GIS sites have invested sufficient thought to a
user's actual experiences, on what spatial information is _really_
important, and are building easy to use tools for users to
combine, and present uncluttered spatial information accurately,
artfully, and in the
</flame off >
Here's a good article
from Boxes and Arrows,
101You are Here with links, by Alta Vista guy,
If you are further
in human factors and near a
high speed net connection on or after this friday, October 3,
Check out the live (or archived) video stream of Bill Moggridge's
Stanford seminar on People, Computers, and Design ( See Computer
Moggridge a founder of IDEO, a consulting firm dedicated to the user-centered
design of products, services and environments.and is working on a book
titled "Designing Interactions",... has been interviewing some of
the Interaction Designers who are pioneers in the field, ...[and] has
recorded the interviews on video, and will show samples from his
tapes, with some comments.
Desktop and Mouse: Stu Card
Designing: Bill Verplank
Playing: Will Wright and Brenda Laurel
Simply Palm: Rob Haitani
Searching: Larry Page and Sergey Brin
can read more details here
Dataland - 1977
User-Centric Map Design?
Google Location Search
OGC & Java
Real Spatial Spammers?
in New York
Cool Spatial Blogs
Geo Metadata Pollution
Euro Cartos and
Harvey Lehtman's Hits
Digital Topo Reviews
Web Map Development
Tom Kalil's Picks
Cool Geo Aps from the CC
RFID Tracking Maps
and GPS Games
Espresso, No Wireless
Radio Frequency Fog
RFID Trees On the Web
KPIG on starhill