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Different zoom levels for large concept maps.  XML
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Jozsef Hegedus

Joined: 03/05/2012 11:32:08
Messages: 3

Dear Developers,

I have a suggestion which is relatively simple to implement and it would take VUE to a completely new level.

The idea is based on hierarchical data visualization for very large graphs (1000+ nodes). Like on the map of the earth.
As an example: if you look at google earth and want to find a street in London, then you can find that in about 5 zooming in steps, starting
from the whole earth view. Similarly if one had 5 very distinct zoom levels (like in google maps) then one could find any information quickly
even in very large but hierarchically organized concept maps (in this case hierarchy is represented by different zoom levels).
So, in this case, the zooming would introduce an extra "dimension" to the concept map.

Some parts of the concept map would consist of large nodes and other part would consist of smaller nodes. Presently it is possible to
use two distinctly different zoom levels (with 12 pt fonts and 90 pt fonts).
These two zoom levels would correspond on google maps: 1) earth view, then 2) country view. But two or three additional zoom levels
would make VUE ideal for handling large concept maps.

This might be easy to implement because VUE already has a zoom range of 1.6% to 128000%, so one would just need to add an option to
add nodes which correspond to the current zoom level. In other words, if one creates new nodes then the text size and thickness would follow
automatically the current magnification level. Such a functionality is already implemented in Zoomnotes (an Ipad app).

As we all know, naturally occurring graphs are scale free (Barabasi).
So this would be one ideal way of representing different hierarchies (abstraction levels) in VUE, as such hierarchies are naturally
present in most real world graphs (due to the their scale free nature).

What do you think ?

Have I expressed myself clearly ?



This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 05/04/2012 12:02:08

Scott Fraize

Joined: 08/08/2008 11:36:13
Messages: 46

Jozef -- I think I understand what you're saying. Oddly enough, internally, VUE already supports arbitrary scales for any object, including, for instance, a group, where if scaled down, every object inside it is scaled down with it (which is how we support making child nodes 20% smaller when added to a node). However, we never added support for further use of this capability -- the question is how to support this in meaningful way in the UI that isn't too confusing. You suggest an action to create an object that is scaled to the current zoom level, which actually would be easy to add to VUE, but how to then move it to another zoom level? What I'd like to avoid is a bunch of nodes with a close but not exactly the same zoom, or two nodes next to each other, one at 50% with a 48pt font, and one at 100% with a 24pt font -- they could be hard to tell apart. Perhaps if there was a menu of standard zoom-level choices for a node? Or perhaps if we only supported the feature on a group, so all the objects in it would have the exact same scale? (And when dispersed, the group contents would "pop" back up to full zoom). What do you think?

BTW, if you're a fan of deeply scaled maps, we've recently added smooth track-pad (scroll-wheel) zooming for maps, from 0.1% to 100,000x, which will be available when VUE 3.2 is released.
Jozsef Hegedus

Joined: 03/05/2012 11:32:08
Messages: 3

Dear Scott,

Thank you for your reply.

Indeed, as you suggest, having four or five different standard zoom levels would be the best way to go. Leaving the user with the option to choose the difference (in percentage) between two adjacent/neighboring zoom levels (or even to choose the absolute percentage values for all zoom levels.)

Let's give a name to this feature, I suggest : standard-zoom-level-resizing. Maps with at least two different zoom levels could be referred to as multi-resolution maps. These are maps which consist of nodes that are at different zoom levels.

I have three small comments:

If the user is using maps with multiple zoom levels (say 4 levels) then the smooth pad zooming feature will be used much more frequently as compared to when the user is only using 1 or at most 2 zoom levels (which is how VUE is currently used by most users, I imagine). So the effort put into implementing it would be even more appreciated by VUE users because they just simply would use it much more often on multi-resolution maps.

Multi-resolution maps are more useful than 3D maps. Why? Multi-resolution maps too have an extra dimension just as 3D maps have but they are easier to navigate and edit on a 2D screen !

A zoom based presentation method is used in prezi http://prezi.com/ which is a popular new application and its success is based on its zooming feature. VUE users, too, will quickly realize the usefulness of multi-resolution maps.

Best regards,


This message was edited 5 times. Last update was at 08/06/2012 11:35:19

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