Information Architecture with Maps

I'm working on a brand new workshop for UX London in May:

A map is a powerful tool for navigating and understanding physical, digital, intellectual, and social space. In this workshop, we'll explore how maps can improve the process and product of classic and cross-media information architecture and user experience design.

That's all I have! But, I'm convinced that information architect as cartographer is a relatively uncharted territory worthy of exploration. And Richard Saul Wurman agrees. But, I could sure use some help. If you have reactions, suggestions, or recommended reading, please let me know. Thanks!

Strange Connections

IA for Ubiquitous Ecologies (PDF) by Andrea Resmini and Luca Rosati is a short, powerful paper about designing cross-media experiences.

Stacy Surla has written a great article about Citizen-Centric Portals.

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Potawatomi Trail

I took my wife's Garmin Forerunner 205 for a spin on the Potawatomi Trail last weekend. The high-sensitivity GPS receiver had no problem in the deep woods.

Potawatomi Trail

And, it was super easy to upload the data for access via Google Maps and Google Earth. I took a few photos too. I love Michigan this time of year!

Strange Connections

However, I'm still excited to be leaving for Georgia tomorrow and then Orlando for Endeca Discover 08. Should be fun (and hot)!

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A Garden of Forking Paths

Stacy Surla recently reminded me of an article I wrote almost a year ago entitled A Garden of Forking Paths. It's one of my strangest literary creations, right up there with UFOs. It's also one of my favorites. It sure was fun to let the metaphors run wild. Anyway, today I noticed my article makes the Top 10 on a Google search for garden of forking paths. I love the idea of Jorge Luis Borges scholars and students serendipitously searching their way into my little garden.

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Today's New York Times has an interesting article about a point-and-click information service available via cell phones in Tokyo. If you'd like to dig deeper into this whole geospatial thing, you might read Geospatial Matters. Or, if you're already an expert, you might contribute to The Geospatial Web. Either way, the long tail of the spatiosemantic web is on the move.

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Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor

This weekend, my daughters and I went hunting for magic fairy doors on the streets of Ann Arbor. Claire, 7 years old, was in charge of wayfinding. It was her first real experience using a map. She did well. We found six of eight doors.

Fairy Doors

Claudia, 4 years old, was the first to spot a couple of the fairy doors. It helps to be close to the ground. Later, after a snack, we went online to learn more about Ann Arbor's urban fairies. The girls (and their dad) had a lot of fun!

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The Wayfinding Place

An online collaboration between seven contemporary voices discussing how humans find their way in ever-changing and increasingly complex public spaces.

Universal Symbol for Wayfinding

Looks like an interesting place to visit!

Strange Connections

I'd like to thank Livia for that last pointer, though it is a bit disturbing when your friends start sending you articles about stalking.

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My geoweb journey continues with A VerySpatial Podcast. On topic resources include OnPoint, All Things Considered, Where 2.0, and GeoTec.

In related news, ambient findability was mentioned in a recent LA Times magazine article (free registration required):

A key feature of the successful neologism, says Metcalf, is that it is instantly comfortable and familiar, easy to wrap one's tongue around. Thus the seeming inevitability of "regift" and the snowball's-chance of "ambient findability," referring to the pervasive access to even the most esoteric info on which one would, um, snack.

This inspired me to coin spatiosemantic (zero Google hits as of January 16, 2006) which is a mashup that describes the impending collision of space and meaning on the geospatial web. As we increasingly place tags in space in a geocoding frenzy that spans the globe, I'm confident that spatiosemantic (and findability) will soon join labradoodle, podcast, and wiki in the OED.

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GeoWeb on NPR

You can now listen to OnPoint's The New Sense of Place and visit the geospatial web links we cited. I'd like to say a special thanks to Rekha Murthy who found me and produced the show. I thought it went very well.

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The Geospatial Web

Unless I'm bumped by someone more important, I'll be interviewed next week on NPR's On Point about the geospatial web:

If you have suggestions for amazing, crazy, scary, funny, or ingenious ideas or examples (related to the geospatial web), please send them my way.

And, if you want to tune in, the show will be broadcast live on Tuesday, January 3rd, between 11 am and 12 pm EST. On Point lists stations and play times around the country, and there's a Listening Center for streams and podcasts.

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Transmedia Wayfinding

User Interfaces for Physical Spaces looks like a fascinating exploration of transmedia wayfinding and design. If you can't make it to Pittsburg for the workshop, see what Peter Merholz of IAI has to say, and download this beautiful presentation (PDF) from Aradhana Goel of MAYA Design.

Strange Connections

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Google Earth on Safari

Google Earth illustrates the future present of Ambient Findability by intertwingling wayfinding and retrieval, enabling us to explore, navigate, and learn about the physical world. The geocoding of National Geographic's Africa offers yet another hint at where things are headed.

In this morning's five minute safari, I zoomed in on Madagascar, skimmed an article about paradise flycatchers, and quickly found myself in the Berenty Reserve, enjoying the acrobatics and fierce roars of the Verreaux's sifaka, the rare species of lemur that lives on the cover of my new book.

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You Are Here

Welcome to findability.org: the next generation. In case you haven't noticed, it's a borg. I mean, it's a blog. Yes, after years of quiet resistance, I've succumbed to the call of the blogosphere. I've been assimilated.

In blogging, my most transparent and prosaic goal is to promote my new book, Ambient Findability. I've poured blood, sweat, and tears into this strange text, so I won't be shy about inviting folks to read it.

That said, I'm hoping this blog will go beyond the book. As my classification scheme hints, I'll be writing about authority, business, culture, design, search, ubicomp, etc. And let's not forget the oft-maligned category of miscellaneous. I very much reserve the right to write about seemingly random topics.

So, if you want the original findability, it's there but not here. And if you like this new place, please come again, or better yet, leave a piece of yourself behind.

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