Abstract

In the tradition of research, text is the preferred solution for research and communication. The linear sequence of writing explains reality: it transforms synchronic scenes into a sequence of codes that describe it diachronically. Nonetheless, while textual representation still remains extremely useful in scientific communication, the linearity of writing is lately appearing as inadequate to the latest models of science and to the representation of current knowledge systems. In this context the language of cartography in particular seems to be fit to work as a structural model for the representation of complex systems, and Design can find in the atlas a model for the communication of complex contexts. As a tool designed to describe and act upon complex context, the atlas provides a model to strategically describe highly heterogeneous knowledge spaces. As a communication device, the atlas sets up a strategic network of images in order to achieve a set of communicative goals: maps, illustrations, graphs, and texts work together to describe and act upon space. In the first part of this paper, we examine the structure of the atlas in order to expose the mechanisms that allow actions of exploration of complex and heterogeneous contexts. In the second part of the paper, the format of the atlas is discussed in its transfer to the digital domain and in its application to knowledge contexts. The first experimental results of such an approach are displayed by presenting a software tool for the collaborative management of design knowledge resources.

Keywords:

Communication Design, Interface Design, Knowledge Visualization, Information Visualization, Cartography, Atlas.

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Jul 7th, 12:00 AM

A New Atlas for Abstract Spaces. Visual Tools for the Exploration of Complex Contexts

In the tradition of research, text is the preferred solution for research and communication. The linear sequence of writing explains reality: it transforms synchronic scenes into a sequence of codes that describe it diachronically. Nonetheless, while textual representation still remains extremely useful in scientific communication, the linearity of writing is lately appearing as inadequate to the latest models of science and to the representation of current knowledge systems. In this context the language of cartography in particular seems to be fit to work as a structural model for the representation of complex systems, and Design can find in the atlas a model for the communication of complex contexts. As a tool designed to describe and act upon complex context, the atlas provides a model to strategically describe highly heterogeneous knowledge spaces. As a communication device, the atlas sets up a strategic network of images in order to achieve a set of communicative goals: maps, illustrations, graphs, and texts work together to describe and act upon space. In the first part of this paper, we examine the structure of the atlas in order to expose the mechanisms that allow actions of exploration of complex and heterogeneous contexts. In the second part of the paper, the format of the atlas is discussed in its transfer to the digital domain and in its application to knowledge contexts. The first experimental results of such an approach are displayed by presenting a software tool for the collaborative management of design knowledge resources.

 

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