I’m satisfied that I know enough about coding the Morcego node map that I’ve set it up on my webserver, at http://nunovo.org.uk/eatingspaces. So, it’s live, and will get further attention as I can make time for it.
The first thing is to set out enough of the categories that loop back on each other – which is the point of a force-based diagram, and then develop some of the ancillary page displays – which is one of the main reasons to use Morcego.
Eating Spaces. What’s that about, then?
It’s a play on words, in typical po-mo hum-geo fashion. It’s a potential research project on the urban geographies of food. It’s about the spaces where food happens, including the production, distribution, consumption, cultures, discourse and practices of eating. The main focus might be on a small constellation of topics with a social emphasis, such as the development of urban spaces around the twin poles of urban food production and sustainability. This might then branch into topics of how urban spaces are and could be set aside for food production, where allotments represent one pole, and brownfield/verge sites another.
I’m using Morcego to map an outline of the project, so as to make it easier for participants to understand. Ultimately, if Morcego is powerful enough, it becomes a map and a record.
This time I’ve broken into the xwg file and created the nodes from data, instead of using the GUI. Then I went into the GUI and added edges between specific groups of nodes. After that, I played with the force settings and made a movie.
Each node is based on a 3-point coordinate, like 0, 0, 0. I created 100 nodes using numbers between -1 and 1. Within WilmaScope, the node spacing and alignment are controlled by a set of sliders, and playing with these produces the various results seen here. My rendering capacity is minimal, so the detail is rubbish, but you get the idea.
In some respects, this is the end of the line for Wilma, since the extent of what I can do is make node maps. They’re useful for visualising relationships in planar mode, and could be helpful in navigating concepts in spherical mode. But what I want is an interactive web-based tool that will let me add links to nodes. In essence, a site map, except that the site would consist of any web resource.
There are 2D tools that do something like this. TrailFire, for example. But I haven’t found one with an independent visual navigation system set up. I suppose this might have to be something hand-coded in Flash.
This may take a long time to load, as it’s a 11Mb file.
If it does load, you’ll see a ball and bar lattice that rotates and changes shape. It’s a set of words relating to a potential research project. The original, desktop-based model is interactive in that it can be dragged, spun, re-ordered and otherwise manipulated, using a basic, easy-to-use desktop application called WilmaScope.
WilmaScope operates on an XML format called XWG, so it’s fairly easy to set up sets of nodes and edges, then modify them in a spreadsheet. What I’ve done here is take a set of four broader concepts: food, community, locale, and spatialities, then created subsets of categories and examples. some of the examples relate to more than one category, so the edges begin to loop round and across categories.
Ideally, I’d create additional points and connections as the scheme becomes more detailed. If I could attach longer texts to a given node, then the project would eventually turn into a proper hypertext document navigated by the node map. I’m sure there are software packages that do the whole thing, but I haven’t seen one yet.
For now, I’m looking to get a web-based version of the model, so that the interactivity can be more fully appreciated. I may be able to do that with another little app called Morcego.