Design of Spatial Applications

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Course Notes for the design of spatial applications course. The course presents an overview of the technologies, tradition, psychology and methodology for the design of maps and other spatial applications

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Design of Spatial Applications

  1. 1. Design of Spatial Applications Matthew Hockenberry The Media Laboratory, MIT hock@media.mit.edu CHI 2007 Course Notes Copyright is held by the author/owner(s). CHI 2007, April 28-May 3, 2007, San Jose, California, USA. ACM 07/0004.
  2. 2. Instructor Bio: Matthew Hockenberry: The Media Laboratory, MIT Matthew is a graduate of MIT’s Media Lab with an M.S. in Media Arts and Science. He was previously at Carnegie Mellon where he studied Logic & Computation and Human-Computer Interaction. He has been involved in Academic Research for the past six years, and supervised projects for the past four. He has experience in Computer Science, Design, Psychology, and Experimental Design. As part of his work at MIT he has developed location-based mapping applications that focus on adding community and user-centricity to web- based maps by utilizing artificial intelligence and data mining techniques. He directs the PlaceMap Project, which is building place-based applications for the MIT community. Matthew has published a variety of papers on spatial applications and led seminars at MIT on this topic. Introduction Design of Spatial Applications
  3. 3. Agenda: Introduction 9:00am - 9:05am Framing Lecture 1 9:05am - 9:50am Case Study 9:50am - 10:00am Design Exercise 10:00am - 10:30am 11:30am - 12:00pm Design Exercise (cont.) 12:00pm - 12:15pm Case Study 12:15pm - 12:55pm Framing Lecture 2 12:55pm - 1:00pm Concluding Remarks Introduction Design of Spatial Applications
  4. 4. Objectives of the Course: • Introduce the idea of a "spatial application" an application that makes use of spatial knowledge, awareness, or presentation in order to achieve its goals. • Present the tradition of spatial representations from cartography, to geographic information systems, to urban planning and art. • Understand the psychology of spatial decision-making, and how our cognitive maps and geographic common sense are different individually. • Consider the social necessity of sharing spatial information and the impact this has on design. • Formulate design goals and approaches that can be employed successfully to further tasks that rely on spatial knowledge, and demonstrate these in a group design project. • Review the state of the art for spatial technology. • Approach new representations and uses of spatial knowledge and the impact of these approaches and representations. Introduction Design of Spatial Applications
  5. 5. Abstract: The design of spatial applications is intended to provide perspective on design issues in the development of applications that incorporate spatial knowledge, representation, and purpose. To this end, the course focuses on both traditional answers to these issues, as well as exploring the background that lead to these answers. This takes the form of understanding traditional implementations such as geographic information systems, their purpose, and the role they have served in representing spatial knowledge. Critical examinations reveal difficulties with these solutions, and the current direction of web maps also provides new insight into the role of GIS in shaping spatial application development. Related traditions, such as architecture and urban planning are mined for their perspectives, often complimentary but with different focuses. Background into spatial navigation, decision-making, action, interpretation, and representation arise from cognitive psychology and neurophysiology. This background produces understanding for certain directions in spatial application development, but also reveals troubling contradiction between human cognitive representation and traditional constructions. This background serves to inspire new design perspectives that appreciate traditional approaches but attempt to address human understanding and user behavior. Untraditional approaches are also considered, including recent explorations into more human commonsensical understanding of space, the relationship between spaces and places, and the tension between the need for social sharing of spatial information and our own internal representations. Introduction Design of Spatial Applications
  6. 6. Introductory Notes: Questions: Ten minutes built in for questions each half, so ask them - but I may defer until later in the lecture if appropriate. Pace: Using those ten free minutes above I’m happy to focus on important points for longer periods of time. Interactivity: The main focus for interaction is during the case studies, the design sessions, and the break (if you want). Style: Generally speaking, the course focuses on ‘high level’ concepts punctuated by examples and case studies, but questions are welcome on more precise details (although generally, that’s what the references are for). Introduction Design of Spatial Applications
  7. 7. Framing Lecture One What is a Spatial Application? Tradition of Spatial Representation The State of the Art Introducing Place Psychology of Spatiality
  8. 8. What is a Spatial Application? Definition: An application that makes use of spatial knowledge, awareness, or presentation in order to achieve its goals. Design Point: Don’t you mean mashup? One might think that, considering that web map applications make up more than 80% of mashups. Many mashups lack clear design goals and motivation, something we should think about changing. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  9. 9. Design Considerations: What is a Spatial Application? Craigslist + Google Maps Craigslist Design Design of Spatial Applications
  10. 10. Design Considerations: User Centered Design Given a location for a user in a system, what can the system do? If a user knows his or her location, what things do they want to do? Location and space are strong limiting factors. (yes, even today and in some respects especially today) Until we invent the teleporter this is a fact of life. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  11. 11. Design Considerations: Design Model Focus on user experience and user centered design. Strong emphasis on task(s) grounded in spatial reality. Where you are matters - any application that cares where you are should understand why that matters. Design Point: The question of information visualization will come up a lot - it should, it’s important. But information visualization removed from clear user understanding and task goals is just information, not application Design Design of Spatial Applications
  12. 12. Tradition of Spatial Representation: Spatial application arise from a strong tradition of the importance of spatial information and techniques to represent our place in the world. Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  13. 13. The Tradition: A Brief History of Maps: Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  14. 14. Maps are: Informative Maps provide us with information about what is where. This is about describing places, putting information in a spatial context, and providing us with a rich world view of geo-information. Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  15. 15. Maps are: Directive Maps tell us not only what is where, but how to get there. Anyone who has driven a car to an unfamiliar place knows how important having a good map can be. Getting from point A to point B has been one of the fundamental purposes of maps. Design Point: In some regards we could think of direction as simply another piece of information, but it has a special role in terms of task. After finding out ‘what’ is there, the next question is almost always, how do I get there? Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  16. 16. Maps are: Aesthetic Maps have been works of art as much as they have been works of information. Artists have explored issues of perspective, presentation and information visualization within the borders of countries. Design Point: Maps have a rich history of artistic exploration. Just because spatial applications are ‘serious’ doesn’t mean that exploration has to stop. Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  17. 17. Maps are: Lots of things... ...shared social perspectives, tools of political power and expression, philosophical treaties about the world... Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  18. 18. Maps are: Changing? What’s new in mapping? Is it a little or a lot? A lot and a little? Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  19. 19. Other Paradigms: For Spatial Representation Who’s out there: Things we say: Geographic Information Systems Map, Cartogram, Geographic Psychology of Space Information System, Mashup, Urban Planning Painting, Directions... Computer Science Visual Design Philosophy Everyone... Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  20. 20. Other Paradigms: For Spatial Representation Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  21. 21. Changing Paradigms: Forget Maps: Hey! We just spent a lot of time thinking about maps! That’s true but let’s think about maps in a different way: Assume: Maps were really useful when we didn’t have a lot of ways of using spatial knowledge and data and in certain circumstances. Conclude: We should look at the justifications and goals of a map and transport those to alternative domains and practices. Sometimes we’ll need to bring a map along, sometimes not. Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  22. 22. Changing Paradigms: Forget Maps: Old Idea: Map that shows you things you are interested in. Goal: Get people to go to things that are interesting to them. Limitation: Useful for planning but not everyone plans. How can we address this goal in practical life. New Idea: Phone that tells you when you are around interesting things. Mechanism: Phone (with GPS) vibrates when you are near something ‘interesting.’ If you press any key it shows you more details. Your preferences for ‘interesting’ may still be set on a web map, or your phone could learn over time. Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  23. 23. Maps & Spatial Applications: Don’t start with this: If you think your application needs a map, chances are good that it will have one. Not all spatial applications need a map representation to use spatial information in effective ways. Some will - some won’t. Start with this: And design an application the way you normally would, based on questions of user experience and task. If you need a map, it will be obvious. Design Point: Actually in the current climate, almost every spatial application has a map. It may be better to look at every other solution before deciding to add a map. Of course, if a map makes sense - it makes sense. Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  24. 24. Traditions of Spatial Representation Geographic Information Systems The Geographic Information Systems Approach Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are tools and technologies used to view and analyze information from within a geographic perspective. Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  25. 25. Traditions of Spatial Representation Geographic Information Systems The primary focus of these applications is to link information to location and enable the visualization of large sets of spatial data. Typically, a GIS application presents images that have been captured by sensors, terrestrial cameras, and so on. It then supports the manipulation of these images by zooming, panning and layering additional sources of information. More sophisticated applications represent this as vector information to be rendered at run time. This allows the addition or removal of certain parts of the geographic content independently (showing and hiding roads, buildings, parks and so on). Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  26. 26. Traditions of Spatial Representation Geographic Information Systems The typical interaction in GIS applications is the query. A user specifies a set of geographic information to serve as a base structure and then layers supplemental geographic information on top. For example, we might look at only the rivers in a geographic region and then layer information such as presence and type of trees and soil structure in order to predict riverbank erosion. This kind of approach is very powerful especially when constructed with modern design techniques. Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  27. 27. Traditions of Spatial Representation Benefits of GIS: There are a large number of benefits to the GIS approach. It focuses on displaying accurate information, which is of absolute necessity in certain kinds of applications. The layer metaphor scales well and supports the view and manipulation of large amounts of information that may or may not be obviously related. In this respect, the GIS approach is very flexible. Many aspects of the world can be captured in GIS; Spaces full of discrete spatial objects, measures of the attributes and relations between these objects, or even continuous measurement of several different properties or themes within a concrete spatial region. Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  28. 28. Traditions of Spatial Representation Limitations of GIS: There are fundamental limitations to the GIS approach, and many difficulties in implementing it successfully. The most serious of these still remains the serious distance between the system preconceptions, and the user’s understanding, of the goals in interacting with geographic information. This can often result in usability problems that are tied to failures in interpretation and gaps between user task conception and GIS query implementations. Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  29. 29. Traditions of Spatial Representation Limitations of GIS: These problems are well addressed by Traynor and Williams in their survey of several GIS systems while attempting to understand how the usability of these systems affected users. They chose a selection of common tasks, such as opening a map and analyzing multiple layers of spatial information. They concluded that the GIS applications had three distinct problems when used by non-specialists: They often rely on technical terminology, they require a strong mental model of the software architecture to be effective, and there is no strong attachment between the final compound representations of spatial information and how that information was generated. Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  30. 30. Traditions of Spatial Representation Beyond GIS: GIS applications are designed for individuals who possess expert skill at dealing with the manipulation and organizing such data. Beyond this is the idea of ‘thin client’ applications that need to be constructed to present this information to casual end users. This speaks to the fundamental limitation of GIS applications: They are concerned about the precise output of large sets of data. While this makes them well suited to data professionals, they limit the end user population to only these professionals. The use of layers to categorize disparate sets of information speaks to the inability to establish deep meaningful relationships between this information and an inability to tie it to the geographic display in more than a very limited fashion. Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  31. 31. Technology for Space and Place: Rise of the Web Map The base for new web-based mapping applications; Offer increasingly powerful APIs (Application Programming Interfaces); Enable outside developers to build their own maps (mashup). Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  32. 32. Technology for Space and Place: The Nature of Web Maps These maps often showcase widely disparate displays of spatial information in a powerful web-based geographic display. Web maps are very similar to traditional GIS applications with a few key differences. Google Maps is probably the best known example of these mapping engines. Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  33. 33. Technology for Space and Place: Web Maps: Differences from GIS These applications dismiss the need for sorting through widely disparate information within a single application and instead offer a map based on the particular spatial information needs of the user. If you need to see a map with all the cabs in New York City, go to this address; if you are interested in a map with apartment listings from Craig’s list, go to this address. In a sense, each layer in a GIS application becomes a new instance of a web map. Web maps are in many respects the ‘thin user client’ GIS views that we have been waiting for. Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  34. 34. Technology for Space and Place: State of the Art in Web Mapping Web maps can scour new sources of information from the web at run time. While earlier web-based maps were more clearly directive these maps embrace the idea of a map based information display. Anyone can display any kind of spatial information they would like. This is a powerful approach and within months after the first next generation web mapping engine launched hundreds of different maps displaying all kinds of dynamic spatial information have become available. Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  35. 35. Technology for Space and Place: Criticisms of Web Mapping In some respects, however, these maps are a step back. They forego the complex layer based approach of GIS applications in favor of tailored unique displays: This limits their scalability. Programmers using these technologies must incorporate disparate spatial information on their own, with only the capability of displaying that information on these applications. In short, these maps offer a powerful front end for the display of spatial information, but not a mechanism for building relationships between that spatial information. They fail to support the kind of complex relationship between geographic information and supplemental spatial information that a developer might desire. One can add “spatial information pins” to a map, but cannot change how the underlying image is displayed based on differing spatial information. Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  36. 36. The State of the Art: A Sim City World? Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  37. 37. The State of the Art: Technology Targets: Frontend Firefox plugin, RIA: AJAX application or Flash/Flex application, Mashup (flash or js),Widget (javascript),Google Earth Integration Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  38. 38. The State of the Art: Technology Targets Firefox plugin (http://www.vinq.com/technology/greasemap/) AJAX application (http://api.local.yahoo.com/eb/) Flash application (http://www.neave.com/lab/flash_earth/) Mashup (flash or js) (http://www.housingmaps.com/) Widget (javascript) (http://widgets.yahoo.com/) Google Earth Integration (http://earth.google.com/) Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  39. 39. The State of the Art: Technology Targets Firefox plugin (http://www.vinq.com/technology/greasemap/) AJAX application (http://api.local.yahoo.com/eb/) Flash application (http://www.neave.com/lab/flash_earth/) Mashup (flash or js) (http://www.housingmaps.com/) Widget (javascript) (http://widgets.yahoo.com/) Google Earth Integration (http://earth.google.com/) Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  40. 40. The State of the Art: Technology Targets Firefox plugin (http://www.vinq.com/technology/greasemap/) AJAX application (http://api.local.yahoo.com/eb/) Flash application (http://www.neave.com/lab/flash_earth/) Mashup (flash or js) (http://www.housingmaps.com/) Widget (javascript) (http://widgets.yahoo.com/) Google Earth Integration (http://earth.google.com/) Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  41. 41. The State of the Art: Technology Targets Firefox plugin (http://www.vinq.com/technology/greasemap/) AJAX application (http://api.local.yahoo.com/eb/) Flash application (http://www.neave.com/lab/flash_earth/) Mashup (flash or js) (http://www.housingmaps.com/) Widget (javascript) (http://widgets.yahoo.com/) Google Earth Integration (http://earth.google.com/) Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  42. 42. The State of the Art: Technology Targets Firefox plugin (http://www.vinq.com/technology/greasemap/) AJAX application (http://api.local.yahoo.com/eb/) Flash application (http://www.neave.com/lab/flash_earth/) Mashup (flash or js) (http://www.housingmaps.com/) Widget (javascript) (http://widgets.yahoo.com/) Google Earth Integration (http://earth.google.com/) Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  43. 43. The State of the Art: Technology Targets Firefox plugin (http://www.vinq.com/technology/greasemap/) AJAX application (http://api.local.yahoo.com/eb/) Flash application (http://www.neave.com/lab/flash_earth/) Mashup (flash or js) (http://www.housingmaps.com/) Widget (javascript) (http://widgets.yahoo.com/) Google Earth Integration (http://earth.google.com/) Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  44. 44. The State of the Art: Technology Targets: Backend Web services, Spatial tagging, Collaboration & sharing, Mediating data by space Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  45. 45. The State of the Art: Technology Targets Web services (http://research.yahoo.com/zonetag/) Spatial tagging (http://www.semapedia.org/) Collaboration & sharing (http://info.placesite.com/) Mediating data by space (http://dencity.konzeptrezept.de/) Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  46. 46. The State of the Art: Technology Targets Web services (http://research.yahoo.com/zonetag/) Spatial tagging (http://www.semapedia.org/) Collaboration & sharing (http://info.placesite.com/) Mediating data by space (http://dencity.konzeptrezept.de/) Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  47. 47. The State of the Art: Technology Targets Web services (http://research.yahoo.com/zonetag/) Spatial tagging (http://www.semapedia.org/) Collaboration & sharing (http://info.placesite.com/) Mediating data by space (http://dencity.konzeptrezept.de/) Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  48. 48. The State of the Art: Technology Targets Web services (http://research.yahoo.com/zonetag/) Spatial tagging (http://www.semapedia.org/) Collaboration & sharing (http://info.placesite.com/) Mediating data by space (http://dencity.konzeptrezept.de/) Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  49. 49. The State of the Art: Technology Targets: Hardware & More... Mobile phone applications (http://www.macromedia.com/mobile/gallery/) Gps integration Spatial videos (http://theunseenvideo.com/) Spatial web pages (http://micro-info.blogspot.com/2005/03/ autodiscovery-and-location-aware-web.html) Spatial art / installations Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  50. 50. The State of the Art: Quick Start Guide Flash Python (http://www.kirupa.com) (http://www.byteofpython.info/, also: http://web.media.mit.edu/~hugo/ conceptnet/) Flash YMaps Firefox plugin (http://developer.yahoo.net/maps/flash/asGettingStarted.html) (xul javascript) (http://roachfiend.com/archives/2004/12/08/ how-to-create-firefox-extensions/ , http://www.gmacker.com/web/ Javascript content/tutorial/firefox/ (http://www.w3schools.com/js/js_intro.asp) firefoxtutorial.htm) AJAX Widgets (http://dhtmlnirvana.com/ajax/ajax_tutorial/# , http://24ways.org/advent/ (http://widgets.yahoo.com/workshop/) easy-ajax-with-prototype , http://www.yourhtmlsource.com/javascript/ ajax.html) Google Earth (http://www.keyhole.com/kml/kml_tut.html) Google Maps (http://www.econym.demon.co.uk/googlemaps/ , http://ruk.ca/wiki/Making_of_the_Charlottetown_Transit_Map) Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  51. 51. The State of the Art: New Assumptions Things to assume: All of the data you ever want will be there. Location information isolates people by distance. Invasiveness is directly related to the usefulness of the invasion (with caveats) Things to not assume: All of that data will be easy to get, complete, or nicely formatted. If you build it, they will come. After you stick data on a map your job is done. Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  52. 52. Revisiting: What is a Spatial Application Anything that can instill a sense of place or making use of where you and what that means. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  53. 53. Introducing Place: Place vs. Space Places are spatial locations given meaning by human experiences in them. Place is distinguished from space by being socially constructed and local, rather than quantitatively described and universal. In other words, people make places out of space. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  54. 54. Introducing Place: What is place? In the physical world, a place is simply a space that is invested with understandings of behavioral appropriateness, cultural expectations, and so forth. We are located in “space”, but we act in “place”. Furthermore, “places” are spaces that are valued. The distinction is rather like that between a ‘house’ and a ‘home’; a house might keep out the wind and the rain, but a home is where we live. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  55. 55. Introducing Place: Places are active. Places provide a context for everyday action and a means for identification with the surrounding environment. They help inform our own sense of personal identity they make use identifiable to others. Behavior is linked to place. Judgments of what is appropriate are based on the place of an act. Meanings given to places are a fundamental component of social interaction. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  56. 56. Introducing Place: Place as Social Construction Place is both broader and more specific than space. The same location— with few changes in its spatial organization or layout—may function as a different place at a different time. “An office might act, at different times, as a place for contemplation, meetings, intimate conversation and sleep.” This suggests that a place may be more specific than a space. “A space is always what it is, but a place is how it’s used” (Harrison, 1996). This meaning can change based on our social or cultural role. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  57. 57. Introducing Place: Place as Social Construction Humans rarely share spatial coordinates. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  58. 58. Introducing Place: How can we understand place? Who does the work? Machines Teach computers to do it (the ai approach) Number of humans needed - little Amount of software required - lots Humans Let humans do it (the wiki approach) Number of humans needed - lots Amount of software required - little Both Combination (human augmented ai) Number of humans needed - some Amount of software required - some Design Design of Spatial Applications
  59. 59. Design Spatial Social Sharing: Question: How hard is it to draw the country you live in? Answer: Surprisingly hard. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  60. 60. Psychology of Spatiality: How do we see space? Design Design of Spatial Applications
  61. 61. Psychology of Spatiality: How do we see space? Design Design of Spatial Applications
  62. 62. Psychology of Spatiality: How do we see space: An anecdote It’s complicated, but start with the fact that we don’t represent what we see in three dimensions. It’s more like 2.5D or 2D with elevation as an additional (and vague) property. Evidence: Ask people to estimate 2D distance, and then ask for the same estimation over slope. Result: People are surprisingly good at the first estimation, but surprisingly bad at the second one. Anecdote: The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and a flat one at that. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  63. 63. Psychology of Spatiality: How do we see space place Initial Experience Place Construction Communication & Translation Interpretation & Assimilation Design Design of Spatial Applications
  64. 64. Psychology of Spatiality: Platial Representations ? Are maps the best representation? Maps are useful because they are so global. How do we really see space and represent place? Effective application take advantage of this. Ineffective applications will over-generalize. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  65. 65. Case Study One: A Lesson in Reduction.
  66. 66. Case Study: A Lesson in Reduction The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction. (The Laws of Simplicity, John Maeda) Consider two examples: Linedrive & Metrobot Linedrive reduces spatial information to communicate driving directions. Metrobot reduces spatial information to communicate street information. Case Study Design of Spatial Applications
  67. 67. Case Study: Linedrive (msn maps and directions) What is linedrive? Map visualization application focused on driving directions. Case Study Design of Spatial Applications
  68. 68. Case Study: Linedrive Why is linedrive compelling? Design methodology While it is an interesting exercise in some cool algorithms, it also addresses that existing representations and techniques don’t meet mental expectations. Exercise in simplicity: What is the most and least amount of information to get from one place to another effectively? Case Study Design of Spatial Applications
  69. 69. Case Study: Metrobot What is metrobot? Business listing directory with a unique spatial view. Shows you the street, with business listings with linking information. Case Study Design of Spatial Applications
  70. 70. Case Study: Metrobot Observation: It translates really well to a mobile platform. How does it do this? Over the web. No special application, just scales well and works nicely on web enabled mobile devices. Case Study Design of Spatial Applications
  71. 71. Case Study: Metrobot (original) Metrobot introduces a very spatial, but very simplified view of information: Goal: Show only the necessary information effectively by giving a strong task centered view that is abstract but strongly orienting. Comments: Metrobot seems very ‘zoomed in.’ It is somewhat difficult to get a sense of context or navigate far beyond the current location. Good for information, difficult for browsing and large scale search. Case Study Design of Spatial Applications
  72. 72. Case Study: Metrobot New York, NY: Columbus Ave. (redesign) Metrobot does have a google map. Unfortunately it is at the periphery of the interface. Here the google map becomes a strong source of context in a new representation. The real map is small, slightly skewed, and contains overlays indicating the current position and links. It can be tied together with a little ajax magic to the main representation. Design Point: Some general design decisions: the title has been Metrobot strengthened focus the current location and branding emphasis has decreased. These aren’t really ‘spatial’ design changes. Case Study Design of Spatial Applications
  73. 73. Design Exercise
  74. 74. Design Exercise: Objective: Develop the concept for an effective, interesting, and novel spatial application Requirements: Short summary of the application (abstract) Sketches showing application summary + any additional features User experience walkthrough (use caseish in nature, with any appropriate sketches) Answers to the following questions: Who is the user? What is the task? What technologies are appropriate and why? What is the role of spatial information and location? How do we represent that information and why is that representation effective? Exercise Design of Spatial Applications
  75. 75. Design Exercise: Free Ideas A representation that is focused on a particular spatial task, and is unique for that. A representation that incorporates time with place and space. A representation that makes intelligent use of scale. A representation that incorporates user interest goals. A representation for planning, a representation for acting. Absurdist ideas done well are ok too. Domains: Crime, coffee, health, meeting friends, making business connections, finding pickup softball games (but only if you have a bat with you - domain constraint). Exercise Design of Spatial Applications
  76. 76. Design Exercise: When presenting: What’s this idea. What ideas led to this one. What (if anything) did you learn. Exercise Design of Spatial Applications
  77. 77. Design Exercise: Secret Objective: Hope you messed up. We can learn a lot from that. Exercise Design of Spatial Applications
  78. 78. Case Study Two: Relationship between representation and reality.
  79. 79. Case Study: Relationship between representation and reality. Consider two examples: Shoutwire & Housingmaps Shoutwire is a social news site with an awareness of the locative background of interaction. Housingmaps is a mashup that helps search for real-estate listings. Case Study Design of Spatial Applications
  80. 80. Case Study: Shoutwire Shoutwire is a social news site. The comment page shows a large map to indicate where ‘shouts’ are. Shouts serve as an indication of approval or interest. Why is there a big map here? Design Point: Shoutwire is an interesting site that is doing something unique, but unique isn’t always good. Case Study Design of Spatial Applications
  81. 81. Case Study: Shoutwire (original) What is this map? Goal: Show national / social background of shouters. Comments: Interesting design decision, encourages more global community acknowledgment and perspectives. This emphasis helps set shoutwire apart from other social news sites. Case Study Design of Spatial Applications
  82. 82. Case Study: Shoutwire (redesign) Get rid of this map! Goal: Show national / social background of shouters. Comments: We can show more information with a tag cloud instead of the map. This doesn’t present as striking an initial impression, but takes up less space and Design Point: communicates the same There are lots of ways to redesign this. We could show (or more) information in numbers beside countries, add additional grouping (continent, less space. state). The names of individual shouters can be displayed by ajax links, or more detailed map popups could be used. Case Study Design of Spatial Applications
  83. 83. Case Study: Shoutwire Of course, this is not the only solution. Point: There are lots of ways to communicate spatial information that is meaningful and relevant. Sticking things on google maps is only one option. Case Study Design of Spatial Applications
  84. 84. Case Study: Housingmaps Housing maps is mashup that helps search for real-estate listings. It combines Craigslist and Google Maps. All design, not much code! Housing maps is a classic mashup, Google Maps + Craiglist, and it is an effective one. Case Study Design of Spatial Applications
  85. 85. Case Study: Housingmaps Why is Housingmaps so compelling? It offers a great experience. Simple controls that relate to the task, show the necessary amount of information the user wants. Multiple views of the information, traditional listings with simple clear information and a spatial map view that is well connected. Both serve as navigation tools depending on user need. Everything works toward the task, nothing here seems like an afterthought. One can actually imagine using this application. Case Study Design of Spatial Applications
  86. 86. Framing Lecture Two Models for Spatial Representation A Naive Geography A Sophisticated Cartography Building Blocks for Spatial Applications Design Principles
  87. 87. Models for Spatial Representation: Using and designing the world We’ve seen some interesting alternative representations in the case studies. If people don’t see the world as satellite photos, and alternative representations can be more useful that traditional ones in certain circumstances, how do we design? If we look at how people interpret the world, does that help? or are there reasons behind traditional representations. In particular, what kind of models make sense for our applications? Design Design of Spatial Applications
  88. 88. Models for Spatial Representation: Natural Human Representation This varies quite a bit. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  89. 89. Models for Spatial Representation: Review: GIS Representation GIS representation is very simple. Data organization Data is organized by sets of homogenous information. This allows disparate information to coexist. Data visualization Generally data is visualized as layers that can be manipulated by the user. Often times there are tools such as zooming and magnification to help users. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  90. 90. Models for Spatial Representation: User Centered Representation Although not a realistic representation, Saul Steinberg's "View of the World from 9th Avenue." is very compelling. Real examples are limited (personalworldmap.org) Design Design of Spatial Applications
  91. 91. Models for Spatial Representation: Task Centered Representation Subway maps are strong examples: Simple goal, get from point a to point b. Limits user options, limited encoding in terms of direction and distance. This can lead to some confusion in other contexts. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  92. 92. Models for Spatial Representation: Playing with Representation Distortion techniques can vary. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  93. 93. Models for Spatial Representation: Playing with Representation There is a balance between perspective and constraint. How we manage this balance requires understanding which features are important when - and why. This comes from understanding user perspective, and consequently the distinction between general human perspectives and personal ones. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  94. 94. Psychology of Space: A Naïve Geography Naive Geography (or common sense geography) is the body of knowledge that people have about the surrounding geographic world. Naive Geography captures and reflects the way humans think and reason about geographic space and time. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  95. 95. Psychology of Space: A Naïve Geography Tobler's "First Law of Geography": Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things. Design Point: This statement speaks very clearly to why space is so important in decision making, and why spatial applications can be so important. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  96. 96. Psychology of Space: A Naïve Geography Some anecdotal (though supported) elements of Naive Geography -Naive Geographic Space is Two- -Geographic Space has Multiple Levels Dimensional of Detail -The Earth is Flat -Topology Matters, Metric Refines -Maps are More Real Than Experience -People have Biases Toward North- -Geographic Features are Ontologically South and East-West Directions -Distances are Asymmetric Different from Enlarged -Table-Top Objects -Distance Inferences are Local, Not -Geographic Space and Time are Global -Distances Don't Add Up Easily Tightly Coupled -Geographic Information is Frequently Incomplete -People use Multiple Conceptualizations of Geographic Space Design Design of Spatial Applications
  97. 97. Psychology of Space: A Naïve Geography Perhaps: 'Naive Geography' "may be a search for the principles, schemata, and heuristics that allow people to find things in novel environments." Design Design of Spatial Applications
  98. 98. Psychology of Space: A Naïve Geography: A Story Finding things in first world economic systems Design Design of Spatial Applications
  99. 99. Psychology of Space: Naïve Geography in Practice? Design Design of Spatial Applications
  100. 100. From early man to the renaissance man: A Sophisticated Cartography The maps and other representations we are familiar with don’t seem to be directly based on the common sense understanding of geography. Cartography, from data collection to presentation, comes from a very different background with its own traditions and techniques. Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  101. 101. Elements of Cartography: Cartographic Definition of a Map What is a map? “A graphic depiction of all or part of a geographic realm in which the real-world features have been replaced by symbols in their correct spatial location at a reduced scale.” Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  102. 102. Elements of Cartography: Cartographic Definition of a Map Map Functions Information Storage To be effective, Communication must be correctly designed Tool for Analysis and constructed Final Presentation Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  103. 103. Elements of Cartography: Parts of a Map Legend, Scale, Credits, North Arrow, Place, Inset, Ground, Figure, Neat line, Border, Title Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  104. 104. Elements of Cartography: Elements of Cartography Elements of Cartography Medium, Figure, Ground, Grid, North arrow/Compass, References / Sources / Credits, Point/Line/Area symbols, Border, Neatline, Insets, Text and Labels, Title, Scale, Metadata, Coordinates, Projection, Legend... Graticule/ There is a lot that (could be) going on here. Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  105. 105. Elements of Cartography: Lessons from Tradition Traditional Cartography offers guidelines for successful design. Difficulties arise when the design focuses on novel elements. Even within this tradition, however, there is a lot of flexibility (and room for error). Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  106. 106. Elements of Cartography: Example: Map Title Consider one element: the title Varying our language here can significantly alter meaning. Distribution of Employment by State 1996 USA: Employment Distribution 1996 U.S. Employment: 1996 Distribution America at Work Where the Jobs are Today Design Point: The point here is that detail can have a large impact. What traditional cartography doesn’t have to deal with (but we do) is the difficulty of constraining dynamic information. Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  107. 107. Elements of Cartography: Kinds of Maps Map Types There are many different established map types and guidelines for their construction. Point Data: Area Data: Volume Data: Reference, Choropleth, [Isopleth, Topographic, Area qualitative, Stepped Dot, Picture Stepped Surface, Symbol, surface, Hypsometric], Graduated Hypsometric, Gridded fishnet, Symbol Dasymetric, Realistic Line Data: Reference perspective, Hill- Network, Flow, shaded, Image Isopleth, map Reference How do we choose? Look at the data, look at the dimensions, look at scale... This becomes harder for more complex maps (dynamic data, elements of time, nonstandard distortion) Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  108. 108. Elements of Cartography: Cartographic Design Why we need design: A map has a visual grammar or structure that must be understood and used to get the best map. We should reflect cartographic knowledge and convention when it makes sense (e.g. forests should be green) but it won’t tell us everything. Focus. Good design will draw focus to the elements that are important... and away from the elements that are not as important. It’s all about focusing attention. General Design Tools We can use traditional design tools like like visual balance, color, contrast, text and patterns. Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  109. 109. Elements of Cartography: Cartographic Design Elements We can rely on traditional design elements: Visual Balance Balance & Alignment Elements of Contrast A more holistic measure. Visual Create Visual Levels More contrast = stronger figure balance is affected by: the Not just the darker element "weight" of the symbols the visual Color & Contrast hierarchy of the symbols and Color can be useful in Contour elements the location of the emphasizing and focusing Sharper contour (edge) = stronger elements with respect to each information. Humans, however, figure other the visual center of the map are bad at coding complex color associations. Color can also be a Closure Visual Center simple method of adding contrast Closed element = stronger figure A little off of the true center. to a visual image, but at the same People will start looking around time it can decrease contrast. For Enclosure this point. This should be the example, saturation and Intensity More enclosed = stronger figure perceptual center of design. 5% of map better onto values than hue. Without it, can’t distinguish height elements. Dimensions of Color Hue Saturation Intensity But we need to acknowledge how they may change spatial representations. Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  110. 110. Elements of Cartography: Example: Cartographic Contrast All Income Levels Highlighted Level We need to acknowledge how they may change spatial representations. Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  111. 111. Epistemology of the Spatial World: Spatial Data Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  112. 112. Epistemology of the Spatial World: Spatial Data x,y { } Getting Spatial Data Keeping Spatial Data Using Spatial Data Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  113. 113. Epistemology of the Spatial World: How we get it (an example): How do we collect spatial data? What kind of spatial data do we need to collect? IKE: A New Zealand company called Surveylab, has licensed technology developed by the U.S. Army to produce an all-in-one mapping tool. The device, originally called HAMMER and rebranded IKE, for Hand-held Apparatus for Mobile Mapping and Expedited Reporting combines a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver with a hand-held iPaq computer, a digital camera, compass, laser distance meter, inclinometer and Geographic Information System (GIS) software in one portable device. Simpler Methods: Compass, Pencil, Stars... Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  114. 114. Epistemology of the Spatial World: Spatial Data: Who gets it? Professional Surveyors You’ve probably seen them around. Goal is to gather, update, and maintain the data. Anyone Open submission and access to data. Is government control a concern? If it is then we (the people) should do that job. And keep it open for all of us. Also we might want data outside the norm. Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  115. 115. Epistemology of the Spatial World: Spatial Data: Who gets it? The Degree Confluence Project The goal of the project is to visit each of the latitude and longitude integer degree intersections in the world, and to take pictures at each location. The pictures and stories will then be posted. Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  116. 116. Epistemology of the Spatial World: Spatial Data: Who gets it? OpenStreetMap: Wiki style world OpenStreetMap is a free editable map of the whole world. It is made by people like you. OpenStreetMap allows you to view, edit and use geographical data in a collaborative way from anywhere on Earth. Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  117. 117. Epistemology of the Spatial World: Spatial Data: Methodologies Deconstruction Accounts of place are reduced to spatial data. Advantage: No bias, pure data, lots of uses. Disadvantage: Lacks understanding, requires a lot of work to get back to the initial place sense. Translation Accounts of place are transmitted directly to us, with encoded spatial data. Design Point: This isn’t to say that deconstructed data is bad, or even harder to use. Sometimes it can be significantly easier to work with than translated data. Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  118. 118. Epistemology of the Spatial World: Spatial Data: Methodologies Example spatial data - elevation. Deconstruction: Elevation map and table of elevation measurement (FASL, AMSL, HAAT) Translation: Here translation is very context dependent. In many translation this information wouldn’t come up at all. An example where is would come up might be in a discussion between two mountain bikers: “The trail is pretty tame, except a quarter mile after the bridge where it drops to a sharp incline for about an eight of a mile.” Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  119. 119. Epistemology of the Spatial World: Spatial Data: Storage Database Semi-structured Other... The data is stored in a XML, other loose Entry large database. (often) hierarchical Organized data structure. Automated These databases Manual tend to be difficult to Concerns of Emergent organize, but expand scalability. Wiki-style well as a method of ... data storing. Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  120. 120. Epistemology of the Spatial World: Spatial Data: Location Awareness The user’s location is often the principle spatial data item of interest. If we know this, get this, and choose to use this it can radically alter the design and structure of our application. How do we get it? Either the user tells us. Or we guess. Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  121. 121. From my world to ours: Minding the Gap This tradition descends from the need for a social spatial view in a fixed form. With our new dynamics, we can push beyond this, but we need to push in the right way. There is no formula but there is a language. Tradition Design of Spatial Applications
  122. 122. Technology for Space and Place: Building Blocks of Spatial Applications Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  123. 123. Building Blocks of Spatial Applications: Location Awareness Location awareness usually refers to approaches that understand where a user is, either through network monitoring, special hardware such as GPS, or combinations of these approaches with user input. The precision of these techniques is rapidly increasing. Technologies such as wireless triangulation and wireless positioning are rapidly becoming able to approach these levels of precision without the need for external sensors Exemplar: Skyhook Wireless offers a service called Loki that exists as a plugin for the Firefox web browser. This relies on access to wireless access information. Comparing signal strengths and system conditions with observed database trends of user behavior can be very precise. Soon it will be able to precisely identify almost any location. However, the necessary granularity for most tasks comes down to place – not to a number of meters. Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  124. 124. Building Blocks of Spatial Applications: Web Maps Web mapping APIs are the direct decedents of GIS style approaches to spatial representation. There are a number of key differences, however, which separate them from GPS to some degree and make them attractive as possible building blocks for applications. The main areas of interest are the lightness of the web maps when compared to traditional GIS and the ease with which varied and diverse information sources can be incorporated and realized, the result of which being the so-called mashup. Exemplar: Google Maps are perhaps the best known of the web mapping APIs and offers a very diverse set of features. Google Maps can be deployed on any web site (given a Google approved API key) and can incorporate information from any source. Additional functionality, such as seamless navigation, spatial interaction, and drawing capabilities are also provided. Web maps such as those offered by Google provide a rich foundation for the display of spatial information but these web maps don't provide the capabilities for aggregating outside data or interpreting it. Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  125. 125. Building Blocks of Spatial Applications: The Geo-semantic Web The Geosemantic Web is an attempt to incorporate geographic and spatial information in a semantically meaningful markup for the web. This is related to the general conceptions of the semantic web. Specifically meaningful semantic geodata and metadata are structured into web documents with the intent that they are human readable, but also with direction for them to be machine-readable. Exemplar: The Open Guide network is a geosemantically structured set of city guides. these encode rich semantic markup in the form of RDF or XML. The Open Guides represent a project within this approach that serves a practical purpose (city information) is of a significant size (covering over ten major cities - mostly in the United Kingdom - by contribution of altruistic individuals) and is well-structured practical semantic markup with direct human representation and machine instruction. One could imagine a world where all of the information related to spaces and places were carefully associated with correct geosemantic meaning. It would, however, be a much more perfect world than today. Markup remains limited by the insights and interests of the user base. Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  126. 126. Building Blocks of Spatial Applications: ‘Smart’ GIS GIS is focused on concrete data collection with an emphasis on objective spatial data. This usually involves methods of data acquisition involving human agents with specialized devices, but these are giving way to mobile data acquisition and satellite photo analysis (remote sensing) Exemplar: Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc., commonly known as ESRI, has emerged as the premier GIS solution in the commercial sector. Their solutions, such as ArcGIS, offer support for numerous kinds of data sources, manipulation capabilities, and advanced queries. This allows expert users to make significant research efforts into geographical problems. Recently trends in web mapping have resulted in sharing capabilities that offer interactions similar to those found in Google Maps. This allows a full cycle of data collection, interpretation, analysis, and sharing. There have also been recent trends towards ‘smarter’ GIS systems that offer models of behavior that have preserved some existing human interpretations of geography. ArcGIS has begun to embrace these, but support remains very limited. Good GIS systems such as ArcGIS are good for a particular kind of user, the expert user. In general, the system does not attempt to understand the data itself. Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  127. 127. Building Blocks of Spatial Applications: Artificial Space Ironically, perhaps some of the most interesting work in understand place comes from research into artificial space. In the realm of computer supported cooperative work and complex data visualizations, spatial metaphors have been useful for communication and presentation of large amounts of data. To that end, significant effort has gone towards understanding the role of place construction with an eye towards practical investment of platial knowledge. Exemplar: The work done by Dourish and Harrison is significant, as is the work in the Data Mountain project. Here spatial memory is utilized for organizing documents and there is clear observable place construction in resultant user behavior. These insights offer predictive power for the developers of such systems. Place construction is a key component in the virtual world, as well as the physical, and designing with this understanding creates systems that are able to support larger amounts of data, increased efficiency, and support of communication. However, the focus is on how this will be designed for, not how to identify this and make use of it within the system. There is not an active role in the system for place identification and subsequent utilization of this information. These would be systems that actively capture palatial determinations with the goal of reincorporating them into the system. Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  128. 128. Building Blocks of Spatial Applications: Spacial Reasoning in Non-humans Significant work has been done with regard to spatial understanding in systems less vocal (and presumably less intelligent) than humans. From robots, seeking to navigate unfamiliar environments with limited sensors, to rats moving through mazes, the history of these efforts is rich. The focus here is usually on small-scale space and (almost exclusively) on navigation. There is a strong focus in studying information search that is relatively simplistic (such as pure retrieval for rats in a maze) or where it can be clearly encoded (for robots). Exemplar: Projects such as those proposed by Werner include navigating wheelchairs and robot office navigation. These devices employ interesting algorithms for the identification of features (corners, obstacles etc.) and serve as useful aids in navigation and identification of basic spatial features that form the core of visualizing small-scale spaces such as rooms or even buildings. This kind of spatial work is interesting, and deserves consideration simply because of the significant amount of time and effort that has been invested in it. However, the differences between small-scale space and larger geographic space are poorly understood and may be more profound than originally offered. Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  129. 129. Building Blocks of Spatial Applications: Common Sense Collection While not intuitively obvious, common sense knowledge systems provide insight into a new kind of approach. These systems attempt to capture common sense facts about the world, similarly to how one might capture common sense understandings of place. Exemplar: Open Mind Common Sense is a system that depends on web-based entry of structured common sense statements. These can be statements like “it is cloudy when it rains.” While these statements are not always true, they often are (or are often perceived casually by humans to be). While systems like open mind offer an interesting approach, they rely on altruistic data entry. They also tend to be less specifically focused on accounts of place (they are usually more general, with specific persons or places rarely identified). Some systems tend to be significantly more structured as well, relying on data input from knowledge engineering rather than casual use. The primary focus should not be on a special ‘place knowledge data entry’ but on a more flexible approach that can be embedded in general spatial applications. Here the focus becomes on implicit inference, and not data entry and collection. Technology Design of Spatial Applications
  130. 130. Designing Principles: Design Principles Design Design of Spatial Applications
  131. 131. Design Principles: 1. Think about place, not space. Latitude and longitude can be precise to inches - but what distinction matters? Consider New York City directions and directions in the country. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  132. 132. Design Principles: 2. Get a room with a view. Consider what the appropriate granularity is for information. Can clustering and grouping show us more with less? Use intelligent location awareness. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  133. 133. Design Principles: 3. Simplify the world, don't recreate it. Focus the goal of the application. We already live in the world - we need to see less, not more, in our digital view of it. If we could notice everything that was going on, why would we need to look at a computer? Design Design of Spatial Applications
  134. 134. Design Principles: 4. Avoid the tyranny of the majority. Spatial Application != Web Map + GUI (necessarily) Choose representations that make sense in and of themselves and which further the goal of the application. Avoid the tyranny of the majority. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  135. 135. Design Principles: 5. Linking the virtual and the real. There is a lot of information out there, but an incredible amount is grounded in space. Even when this is not a direct mapping, spatial relationships can produce interesting associations. Where do you blog? Design Design of Spatial Applications
  136. 136. Design Principles: 6. Some assumptions are inevitable. The baseline of spatial data and location awareness is rising rapidly. Assuming that all of the spatial data you ever want will be available is not (so) unreasonable. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  137. 137. Design Principles: 7. Follow the tradition, Don't follow tradition. Learn from the goals and methodologies of the tradition. Understand the goals and background that create success. And repeat. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  138. 138. Design Principles: 8. Transcend spatial limitations. Space is a limiting factor, a good application should transcend this limitation. You don’t always need to be there to be there. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  139. 139. Design Principles: 9. Balance perspectives. Spatial applications need to successfully balance a number of perspectives - human cognitive perspective, individual perspectives, and shared social perspectives. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  140. 140. Design Principles: 10. Spatial Applications are just applications. The same rules of usability and design haven’t disappeared just because we’re talking about space. Design Design of Spatial Applications
  141. 141. Concluding Remarks & Questions hock@media.mit.edu www.spatialapp.com/
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