Re: VR: Lat/Long of Internet Servers

Gavin Bell (
Tue, 19 Jul 94 09:04:42 PDT

At 6:03 pm 18/7/94 -0500, Kenneth C. Jenks wrote:
>>>I think we need the lat/long client/server to form the basic grid of
>>>cyberspace. The rest of cyberspace can literally be built on this

Agreed lat/long are important characterisitcs, I think that before
Christmas on c.i.www or www-talk, not sure, there was a long discussion of
how and why this information should be coded, the result was the server
maps which have proliferated.
>>When I'm wandering around the Web, I don't care *where* a
>>server is located -- it's the furthest thing from my mind. I wander
>>from California to Norway at a shot, if that's where the data happens
>>to be. My expectation of cyberspace is very much the same way -- I
>>want to know *what*, not *where*. (Or, at most, I may want to know
>>where something is logically, but don't give a damn where it is
>You're confusing "hyperspace" with "cyberspace," but I'll forgive you
>that. Hypertext links should certainly be visible in VR cyberspace.
>But what should they look like and how do you follow them? And how so
>you know where they lead before you follow down the primrose path? You
>argue that you don't care where they lead; you'll follow blindly,
>dunking your head in California and surfacing in Norway. I'd say
>that's a long way to swim if the same data is available in Oregon.

Yes, there is no point is travelling to the main library in the city if
your local library has the same information, but that fact has to be
apparent, often it is not and people will go the the largest source of
information to find something out. Another example, if your computer
doesn't do what you want it to do you ask your local expert, not your
nearest collegue.

>My point is that you have your own, personal view of how cyberspace
>should look, and you should be able to build your VR view of the 'Net
>according to your favorite logical variables. I prefer a
>geographically oriented view, so I (and people like me) should be able
>to use that view. Geographic proximity can be very useful in queries
>and searches (see below).

Another VERY important thing which once again seems to be left out is
information content. Again I'll use the library example, I'm looking for a
book on Kandinsky's artwork I go to the section on art and start to look,
first I see Monet so I know that the book is nearby as they are going to be
in alphabetical order. I browse the stack and find it, this is only
possible as the books are organised in a catalogued format. To have made
my search quicker I might have looked directly in the catalogue and found
the pressmark directly and gone to the shelves, but then I may have missed
the book on "an artist beginning in x, y or z" as I will not brose the
shelves as much.

This ability to browse is vital for us, the cyberspace view of the net must
allow for organisation of the available sources flexibly by their content.
I know that this is a hard question to address, but like the semantic issue
which got left out of TimBL's initial view of the web, it is one we must
look at.
>>I could see building a map like this on *top* of a purely logical
>What have we got now (today) but a purely logical system? I'm a
>map-oriented person, and I'd like to start building cyberSPACE.

Yes multiple views of the same information must be supported, I see VRML as
allowing for extreme flexibility in how you can view the net, a sort of
personal viewer. I certainly don't want a view point dictated to me , be
it informational or geographic. BTW if we do a geographic version and the
world is a 3d construct, what do we do with the middle bit or the core :)
>>Indeed, it shouldn't be especially hard -- it's almost
>>exactly analogous to the map-based systems springing up on the Web.
>>But in my experience, those systems are at best marginally useful
>>unless I'm trying to find out information about a specific locale,
>>which is rare.
>I would find information about specific locales quite useful. For

Agreed, a local fact finder would be very useful, look at the Colorado
Supernet project I think...
>This kind of geography-based information is VERY important in the real
>world. Right now, it isn't screamingly important in FTP or WWW or
>Gopher, etc., but it could be in the future. That's what we're
>designing here: the future appearance of the Internet.
>Mark, when you gaze into the future and look out at the Internet
>through your VR eyes, what do you see?
I see interactivity and easy access to whatever information I want, I hope.....


Gavin Bell, School of Psychology, Queen's University, Belfast, UK.
UK & Ireland SIGWEB Coordinator
Phone + 44 232 245133 x4327 (smtp/mime) (X.400)
-<My opinions are only vaguely associated with me and not with QUB>-