WEB : Mapping out communal cyberspace

Chris Holt (Chris.Holt@newcastle.ac.uk)
Mon, 13 Jun 1994 12:42:38 +0100 (BST)

Roger Layton writes:

> The evolution of the Internet, and as reflected in the navigation tools
> which support it, has led to a set of loosely connected, geometry-free
> worlds, islands of information.
> Whereas this approach is suitable for hypertext, and in fact is highly
> desirable, with the introduction of VR as a medium we need to expose the
> underlying geometry, and to treat coordinate space as a shared resource.
> In other words, the coordinates of the worlds we defined, no matter
> whether we choose to use local systems or not, are all mapped onto a
> globally agreed coordination standard.
> I strongly believe that it will be essential to CREATE a coordinate system
> which defines WHERE things are, on a world-wide, globally agreed basis.
> In effect to create a world coordination system, so that everything not only
> has addressability as per current Internet standards, it also has relative
> positional addressability in some world - it can be placed onto a map.

I don't think you should get too hung up about global positions; I
think that's taking the physical analogy farther than is useful.
We have two ways of finding things, by name and by position, and
in many cases the former is preferable: it leads to a much broader
choice of paths [We're all used to the annoyance of having to
click through 6 different hierarchies to get somewhere, when we
would only have to type the name in once.]

I also think you underestimate the role that "hypergates" or "stargates"
will play in going from one coordinate system to another. If I
build a small world, I want it to be independent of commonspace;
all I need in commonspace is a gate. That way, I can make things
as big as I want, without taking up space; suppose I were allocated
an acre of commonspace but wanted to build a DisneyWorld? But gates
can be as small as pages in a book, or Who's Who-type entries...

Chris.Holt@newcastle.ac.uk ftp://tuda.ncl.ac.uk/pub/local/ncmh1/nameplate.html
I had rather be a dog and bay the moon, / Than such a cybernaut.