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infoscape.jpgan online patchwork of (500x500px) images which are assigned to individual students, collectively representing a geographical map enhanced with several layers of experiental information (e.g. shadows, flows, logos,...). all fields are surrounded by neighboring fields of other (unknown) students, who can only communicate through textual messages displayed on top of the map. as a result, cooperative as well as competitive activities between students 'emerge', as the challenge consists of creating a uniform information landscape in which individual contributions stood out but field borders blended in. infoscape is an online collaboration environment I developed for a digital image design course, aimed to facilitate intuitive transfers of creative visual ideas. [infoscape.org]

infoscape was presented at DUX 2005 (San Francisco). continue reading for more information.


infoscape was authored collaboratively by 96 students over a 10 week period: the notion of single authorship was sacrificed in favor of a large-scale & longtime collective endeavor of which the outcome would have been impossible without the simultaneous effort & enthusiasm of almost all participants. the collaborative, visual map metaphor provided the students with an ever-present, dominant design context in which their creative contributions could thrive.

students used many different approaches to textually convey & negotiate their wishes to their neighbors, ranging from flaming to long, friendly requests. students were self-motivated to collaborate with fellow students to take over design ideas, or to copy designs of others to generate a consistent, collaborative landscape artifact. good students used the textual messages to provide other students with less technical expertise specific tips in order to have their visual design taken over, in effect provoking emergent peer-learning.

the online infoscape interface allows users to browse the resulting visual & textual map, 'merge' different layers (assignments) on top of each other. it also offers a 'history' calendar to go back in time & explore the initiators of specifc strong design ideas.

in the context of the current popularity of wikis & google maps, infoscape has potential to be used as an extension for existing online maps or image-based data collections, which could be enriched with infoscape-like visual knowledge layers that are collected by a large group of physically remote users.

explore infoscape or investigate the detailed static maps.