Sunday, 6 April 2008

Web Trend Map 2008 Beta

Not all visual maps are prescribed to geographic content. Moving away from the past 3 maps of geography but continuing the theme of technology, there is this wonderful map from the Information Architects mapping popular internet websites.

In its second version they've 'taken almost 300 of the most influential and successful websites and pinned them down to the greater Tokyo-area train map. By popular demand, we enlarged the poster size from A3 to A0' (greber, 2008, web-trend-map-2008-beta).

In the popular style of train/underground maps, first started by Harry Beck’s London Underground map, which he developed from 1931 onwards, they are being subverted into alternative content, like here of websites map. Their clear, clean white space [1] is highly effective for organisation of information.

It is a type of

concept map

that is similar to brainstorms where it connects ideas and to that of mind maps. They are ‘graphical representation[s] where nodes (points or vertices) represent concepts (defined by [Joseph .D] Novak[2] as perceived regularities in objects and events), and links (arcs or lines) represent the relationships between concepts’. These objects and events are the common features which we abstract from our experience. The events form Wordsworth’s childhood memories that are ‘“sources of adult confidence and creativity”’ and helped him when writing Daffodils, or the visual memories in Barcelona of Picasso that inspired the painting of ‘Les Demoiselles of D’avignon’ and the objects could be the Iberian sculpture, or the Monet painting that also inspired him (Coffey, Hoffman, Cañas, & Ford, 2002, p. 2), (Sharples, 1999, p. 48).

‘Concept maps are used to form knowledge models by placing them in a hierarchical organization and appending elaborating media onto the nodes within each map’ (Montello, 2002, p.2). An excellent example of this is the search engine KartOO. The elaborate media stated are the hyperlinks, animations that are activated when you click on one of the nodes (website names).

Overall it is an excellant map utilising white space & framing knowledge beautifully, brilliant balance of form/function. More articles will come featuring projects mapping the internet.

Online Clickable links version - excellant concept map

[1] ‘white space is, perhaps, the most important, [...] aspect of writing as visual design. According to James Hartley, a psychologist who studied the visual design of text, good use of white space can help a reader to: See redundancies in the text & thus faster reading; See more easily which bits of text are personally relevant for them, See the structure of the document as a whole; Grasp its organisation’ (Sharples, 1999, p.141).

[2] Joseph D. Novak studied the concept mapping technique in the 60’s at Cornell University.

mini bibliography

gerber, matt. (2008). Web trend map. Friday, January 25th, 2008

Sharples, Mike. (1999). How We Write: writing as creative design. Routledge, London

Google. (2007). Search – Cognitive Mapping Montello, David. (2002). Cognitive Map-Design Research in the Twentieth Century: Theoretical and Empirical Approaches. Cartographic and Geographic Information Sciences, Vol. 29, No. 3, pp.283-304

Google. (2007). Search – Cognitive Mapping John W. Coffey, Robert R. Hoffman, Alberto J. Cañas & Kenneth M. Ford. (2002). A Concept Map-Based Knowledge Modelling Approach to Expert Knowledge Sharing*, Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, Pensacola Fl, 32502, viewed 30 June 2007,

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