David Bihanic, designer-researcher

Crystal hy-map

Crystral hy-map is a complete representation system that uses a hypermedia structure designed to support a large network of links. It relies on a connectionist system capable of handling numerous data units where information is organized in directories and indexed by geo-semantic analysis.


Recent research projects carried out on the subject of data processing within a virtual context clearly show that the process that leads the user to adopt a certain strategy rather than another, primarily in the case of numerous situations where complex problems need to be solved, represents one of the fundamental parameters in the development of active principles on which Human-System interfaces depend. These interfaces must allow both to communicate with the different system components and to ensure the control of the decision program in the most uniformal manner. Consequently, a development study is necessary in order to highlight the essential role of man in its operation, a role which necessarily assumes a great level of adaptability of representation and display methods for pertinent information.

Currently, there are numerous visual systems capable of significantly improving the management and analysis of information through well-known gathering and processing procedures. They allow both the understanding of certain common situations and a real anticipation of possible actions and trends.

However, these applications do not offer a great deal of perceptually rich information. They are neither capable of developing a complete spatial representation of information nor of favouring the implementation of new knowledge in complex environments.

Thus, it is of primordial importance to envisage new representation paradigms whose aim is to reach a level of communicational performance of clearly superior systems so as to allow the use of an extended metadata display, an intuitive interfacing system by direct handling as well as a procedure for the localisation and retrieval of multimodal information efficient in big corpora.

That is precisely what this software development project, Crystal hy-map, aims to do, by attempting to create a real tridimensional graphical representation to explore information. It implements a conceptual approach, resulting from the deformation of the object, which allows to correct the occlusion phenomenon and to build a spatial reality that would be close to the human perceptive system and therefore interpreted favourably as the network of links becomes more complex. In addition, it pioneers new methods for the distribution of information for multidimensional integration spaces (non-hierarchical organisation of metadata, use of original constraints related to positioning, etc.) as well as new procedures for the retrieval of knowledge from hypermedia data.



Crystral hy-map is a complete representation system that uses a hypermedia structure designed to support a large network of links. It relies on a connectionist system capable of handling numerous data units where information is organized in directories and indexed by geo-semantic analysis. For this, the information is based on a hypermedia browsing repository structured from a “grid” (C.S.: X, Y, Z) for semantic positioning of information revealing new integration procedures mainly between various documentation models and ergonomic knowledge. The main objective lies on the possibility of optimising parameters which constitute the workload for the human operator (e.g. number of objects handled, temporal constraints, parallelism of tasks, length of procedures, etc.) and setting-up a method to diagnose the cognitive workload for the interfaces.

Its aim is to highlight the obsolescense of traditional browsing and graphical search tools by insisting on the need to offer new strategies for the processing of information in virtual contexts that are suitable for complex situations. This leads to the implementation of new paradigms for prospective representation of space that make the elaboration of procedures for distribution and project evaluation useful.

Hypermedia must have organised knowledge on the subject and a modelling of the reading task. It is therefore necessary to ensure a good distribution of skills between the user and the machine and to garantee a true integration of both agents (HMD) in the decision process.

To do so, this project defines a visual organisation concept that would allow to observe and understand information more easily by way of a dynamic tridimensional cartographic display.

The original aspect of such an approach lies, beyond formal changes, on the fundamental modification both in terms of distribution, representation, use and production of specialised information and in the elaboration of a new logic to help in the understanding of spatio-temporal processes.

“Polyhedral computation” is a calculation on the evaluation and distribution of areas of semantic influence of one or several distant “objects” (cf. contextual semantics).

This calculation is the keystone of the system for tridimensional representation of information. It allows for a perfect semantic distribution of information on the object and pioneers, by benefitting from computers’ processing rate and graphical capacity, in a new approach for locating and retrieving information for big corpora as well as for searching documents in non-structured bases.

It is organised on an algorythm for geo-semantic location of information. The goal is to “encircle” the object in order to control all its deformations and allow for real time handling of metadata.

Indeed, Crystral hy-map is a very flexible data representation environment that is similar to both the semantic networks and the object orientation paradigm. It is perfectly capable of supporting the implementation of different knowledge representation formalisms.


Relative paper

David Bihanic. A complete system of tridimensional graphical representation of information: Crystal hy-map (short version), “Un système complet de représentation graphique tridimensionnelle de l’information : Crystal hy-map (version courte)”, Cosign03, Computer Science department of the university of Teesside, September 9-12 2003, Middlesbrough (England).

Files to download files

Download 3D interactive mockup here (Windows only) !

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