Map-based Information Visualisation

Tim Bray helped define the XML standard. He is currently focussed on “the visual representation of data with his company, Antartica, which sells tools that display information from Web searches, corporate portals and other sources in an intuitive map-based format.” Some excerpts from a interview:

It’s Antarctica’s hypothesis that by putting a graphic interface somewhat in the spirit of the desktop metaphor on complex information spaces, we can open up the value in there. In our case, the metaphor isn’t a desktop–it’s a map.

There are really two ways to get information: search and browse. And browse has a lot of potential. But to work, the drill down has to be intuitive. It cannot be stupid. You have to be really aggressive about bringing the relevant stuff to the top. You can’t force the person to go through multiple levels to get to what they want.

It turns out that the display technique that returns the most amount of data per square inch is cartography. That’s why we’re using a map metaphor.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.