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Browse Prior Art Database

Spatial User Interface

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000121854D
Original Publication Date: 1991-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-03
Document File: 3 page(s) / 120K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Berger, BH: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

This article describes an interface based on represented space shapes. In today's market, a person will find that a variety of techniques exist to present a user interface. Current examples are pull-down menus, graphic windows, and dialog boxes. These are all familiar to users of computer software. While these and similar techniques are familiar, they are not usually intuitive. They do not communicate information about the underlying structure. In other words, it is not obvious to the user which features may lie inside the User Interface, or how the interface should be traversed.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 44% of the total text.

Spatial User Interface

      This article describes an interface based on represented
space shapes.  In today's market, a person will find that a variety
of techniques exist to present a user interface. Current examples are
pull-down menus, graphic windows, and dialog boxes.  These are all
familiar to users of computer software.  While these and similar
techniques are familiar, they are not usually intuitive.  They do not
communicate information about the underlying structure.  In other
words, it is not obvious to the user which features may lie inside
the User Interface, or how the interface should be traversed.

      Current state of the art user interfaces have several critical
drawbacks, viz., tendency not to be intuitive, not common across
software packages, and interface changes due to underlying
application changes.

      A new approach to this user interface paradigm is that of a
Spatial User Interface.  A Spatial User Interface that organizes a
variety of spatial features and support nesting of spatial data
shapes overcomes some drawbacks of existing techniques.

      The obvious application of a Spatial User Interface is to
organize geographic data in physical spatial terms.  For example, in
a map of the world, the user could select a country and that
country's borders become the window.  This is different from
displaying a map inside a rectangular window.  In a Spatial User
Interface, the window is the shape of the country instead of a shape
within a rectangle. The real spatial data shapes then define the
window borders giving the user a Spatial User Interface.

      This is further applicable by dividing windows into states or
provinces, and further subdividing into counties or cities, for
example.  To illustrate the initiation of such an interface, consider
the following example:
Action                             Result
User selects the country U.S.A.
                                    A window is displayed
                                    shaped like the U.S.A.
User then selects the region of    A window is displayed with the
                                   shape of the state.
   interest, Colorado
User continues selections                                   The
                                    windows are displayed
                                    with the respective
                                    shapes until user arrives
                                    at area of interest.

      In addition, the Spatial User Interface could include a
geographic attribute table where regions can be shaded, colored, or
"stretched" in the vertical direction according to a particu...