I wrote a reminder to myself: “Blog about maps. Use real world map and directions as example. Then text views as way to give visitor lay of the land.” So here it is.
Let’s start with the basics: Information is connections which means interactions and relationships.
A map of the physical world is based on the initial premise that the physical world does not change. This was a useful ‘perspective’ when the maps were first being ‘drawn down’ and reflects the etymology of the word ‘map’. However, even the physical world does change: The light changes during the day, as does the weather, as does what places are open for business. Traffic conditions change and buildings come and go. On longer time scales mountains are pushed up and worn down–rivers and oceans come and go. And so on.
To view these maps we need different views: You don’t use a weather map to plan a car journey or a geological map to check for traffic. What the maps all have in common though is that what they show is specific relationships–connections: It’s not useful to see a marking ‘road’ on a map without knowing where it goes.
Maps & Knowledge
Knowledge is something that exists in the world–in the minds of people and in records.
The landscape of information is all about connections and relationships and we can bring this to mind by employing a wide range of ‘mappings’; from a simple sentence to lay out a basic argument, to argument mapping in 2 or 3D space. We can also follow and create such connections (or links–implicit and explicit of various types and kinds etc.) and relationships (relative placements, correspondences, neighbourhoods etc.) in different views. This is why building different views and making it sub-consciously easy to flick between them–to interact with them to change our perspective–as easy as a trained artist making a sculpture is so fundamental to what information is and how we can truly get to grips with it.
We need to improve compressing and expanding text for the level of detail and overview we need. We are working on that. We need to improve how we create and follow citations. We are working on this too. We also need to improve how we can think freely, without being locked in to columns of text. We are working on that also. And we need to go further. We will. Join us.