On mapping: where we are, where we're headed, and a starting use case

tona monjo tonamonjo at gmail.com
Thu May 28 07:07:27 UTC 2009

Hi all,

James, thanks for your message. I think it provides mapping tasks with a
good starting point.

Although I'm not as directly involved in these tasks as you, Dale and Ron,
I've seen some interesting examples of conceptual mapping in the course of
the benchmarking so, if you agree, I'll gather them and publish on the wiki.
I think they may be useful.

The most of these cases combine conceptual and spatial mapping, and of
course, having into account that I've seem them in museum's websites, they
are location unaware.

On the other hand, as I mentioned some days ago, I'm going to London this
weekend, so I'll pay attention to the possible use of mobile devices for
location aware mapping at big museums like British or Tate.



2009/5/27 James William Yoon <james.yoon at utoronto.ca>

>  Hi all,
> Some of the chatter around mapping, its possibilities, and what we're doing
> with it has been a bit scattered, so I'm writing up this email to
> consolidate some of that and give an overview of the landscape, as well as
> provide a basis for some ongoing dialogue.
> If we were to map out the space of our mapping ideas (pun unintended), I
> think we might find that they lie on two axes: location awareness, and
> spatial vs. conceptual.
> Maps can be location-aware (map knowing the current location of the
> map-user), or location-unaware (map oblivious to the current location of the
> map-user). Note that it's not entirely clearcut; there's a spectrum, or
> rather, varying degrees of awareness: maps could be acutely aware of the
> user's precise position at all times (full tracking), aware of when the user
> is in a particular zone (e.g., proximity to an object), aware of when the
> user interacts with a particular object (e.g., tagging of an object), etc.
> Additionally, maps can either be spatial (mapping the physical layout of a
> space, as in a floor plan) or conceptual. Conceptual mapping, in our case,
> largely involves relating objects (to each other, to concepts, etc.). This
> could be, say, semantically (e.g., DRESS worn by a Belle used at The
> Uber-Grand Gala of 1942, attended by photographer Bob, who photographed
> Belle in this PHOTO), or otherwise (e.g., objects related to each other by
> subject, geography, time period, etc.). It's probably most natural to think
> of conceptual maps as node-link graphs (e.g., concept/mind-maps), but they
> could conceivably take on other, more 'interesting' forms (e.g., arc
> diagrams, treemaps, etc.).
> Also, like location awareness, there's conceivably a spectrum of solutions
> between spatial and conceptual mapping. One could imagine, for instance,
> various ways that a spatial map might overlay the relationship of objects to
> each other (e.g., a node-link graph overlaid upon the spatial map; or,
> highlighting objects on the spatial map that belong to the same
> period/theme/etc.; etc.).
> So, our mapping ideas thus far lie somewhere on space like this:
>                   spatial mapping
>                          |
>                          |
>                          |
>                          |
> location-unaware --------+-------- location-aware
>                          |
>                          |
>                          |
>                          |
>                  conceptual mapping
> Another thing to consider is whether we are looking at maps from the
> desktop or mobile experience. For instance (and most obviously),
> location-aware mapping is a moot point in the context of the desktop
> experience.
> All of this is maybe an unnecessarily longish preamble to talk about the
> following simple use case:
> Consider an individual who's returned from a museum visit. A few objects
> caught her interest, and she'd like to learn more about them or revisit the
> content. She goes to her desktop computer, opens up a browser to the
> museum's site, and finds the interactive museum maps. The maps show the
> exhibition space, divided by zones, which are labeled by their theme. She
> clicks on the general area she remembers the object to be, and is given some
> textual content about the zone in general (i.e., zone main text), and a
> shortish list of objects (image and object name, perhaps) organized by
> subtheme/subzone. Clicking on the object gives detailed information on it,
> including related texts. From here, she can click on various different paths
> to related objects: by time, artist, etc.; clicking a path highlights zones
> on the map which contain those related objects. She can then click on those
> zones, and find the relevant objects highlighted in the objects list.
> Alternatively, she might use a search feature to find an object that she
> doesn't remember the general location of, or simply to explore for more
> information. The map would highlight zones with relevant object results, as
> well as give a standard listing of object search results to the side of the
> map. Hovering over or clicking on an object in the side results would
> highlight the correlating zone.
> This use case has been built in part from some data we've collected from
> our McCord visit, which I'm compiling and will send out soon(ish).
> I'm hoping this use case can serve as a starting point for dialogue about
> our first designs and prototypes for a mapping solution. Naturally, our
> dialogue may very well lead us into an entirely different direction.
> Let's meet soon to talk about going from here.
> (also, I think Antranig has some notes he'll be putting up soonish about
> the implementation side of mapping; technological options and so forth;
> yes?)
> Cheers,
> James

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