Calendars are going to be a popular base for many interesting forms of mesh-ups. At When 2.0 it was obvious that many creative people are thinking about utilizing calendars in interesting ways. Starting from close link-ups between e-mail and calendars to providing mesh-ups leading to personal, group, corporate, or specific types of events can be presented and explored on these calendars. Google and Yahoo made maps very popular. Maps are definitely a lot more rich environment for mesh-ups because there is a large volume of underlying data and information provided in maps. By providing an environment to take any data that could be related to geography, Google and Yahoo opened doors for many innovative applications.
There are two major problems in making calendars become a popular infrastructure for combining different time based information data sources in a uniform presentation. The first is that there is no company at this time which is ready to provide what Yahoo and Google did. Equally important is the fact that simple calendars are not as attractive an infrastructure as maps are. In fact, calendars are commonly used to represent events and these events have a strong location component. Calendars must be combined with maps to provide correct event infrastructure for interesting applications.
How can one combine maps and calendars in the same structure? Maps are two-dimensional representations (of three dimensional world) and hence could be easily presented on the screen (or paper). Calendars are also two-dimensional representation but they are really one dimensional. Time is one dimensional. But time has some unique characteristics. It is continuously changing â€“ it is dynamic. How to capture this in conjunction with maps? This will require carefully thought out visualization approaches. One possibility is to represent time with time â€“ as the time axis at a point of map. But this will not allow us to manipulate and explore time as we are used to â€“ by going backwards and forwards in space. Maybe this could be done by using third dimension, color, and similar approaches that will allow us to explore the dimension as we may want.
One possibility is to simply consider spatio-temporal space (in our current context) as three dimensional space with two dimensions for maps and one for time. This will allow us to freeze time and let us explore this axis as may be required. It may be possible to consider any other attributes that we may want to represent as either the fourth dimension or color. This will mean that we start utilizing rendering approaches suitable for emphasizing specific characteristics of the application in the given context as may be required. I definitely donâ€™t like to complexities of this representation, but it is clear that for effective representation of events we may require some structure that will allow us to simplify and present spatio-temporal nature of events in some intuitive and simple manner.