Monday, December 14, 2009

News Map: The Bare Essentials of Aggregated News

Allow me to present, Newsmap.

"Newsmap is an application that visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator.

A treemap visualization algorithm helps display the enormous amount of information gathered by the aggregator. Treemaps are traditionally space-constrained visualizations of information. Newsmap's objective takes that goal a step further and provides a tool to divide information into quickly recognizable bands which, when presented together, reveal underlying patterns in news reporting across cultures and within news segments in constant change around the globe.

Newsmap's objective is to simply demonstrate visually the relationships between data and the unseen patterns in news media." (from Marcos Weskamp, creator of Newsmap)

Consider it a new use for Piet Mondrian's principles of design.

Personally, I can see myself using it quite often. As little time as I'm usually able to allocate to reading up on world events, I can't afford to be distracted by ads, trivial news items, or other obstacles posed by the standard design of most news sites.

The two news sources I check out the most are BBC News and The Daily Beast. The BBC is always excellent, but when I'm in a hurry, I check out the Daily Beast's "Cheat Sheet." Though sometimes, the Daily Beast can border on sensationalism.

This News Map, however, would be the perfect thing to drop in on when I need a quick fix. The heirarchy of information isn't set up by any agenda from an individual or organization. It's actually relevant. It's mathematical. I could definitely get used to this setup. I don't think it would carry too well on a large scale, though. I think people, for the most part, like their pictures right there for them to see on whatever news aggregation site they frequent. I do, too, most times, but this is just too convenient to ignore.

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