Digital Cities - Interactive Information Design with Electronic Maps for Consumers

Mark Beaulieu, Digital Lantern

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University April 28, 1993


Over the next 10 years an enormous consumer market will develop made of people using miniature computers and communications devices to traffic large volumes of digital information. The digital marketplace will change the structure and value of information. Not only the computer and interface design, but the actual information collected, distributed, and revised must be wholly new and different from existing marketplace publishing models. Creating content relevant to a person requires originality. My discussion begins with a look to the future of the digital world with theoretical and motivational conclusions drawn from two years of work on end-of-decade multimedia and communications research. Examining the human value of maps and guides we will discuss their general functions in both a futuristic and historic context. I will then demonstrate a model for interface and information design using portable computer technology. "Digital Cities" is the model for a deep interactive guide designed with regard for time, place, and person. It provides substantial, modifiable content in the context of a dynamic consumer environment-the restaurants of San Francisco. We will conclude with a characterization of new information and media and reexamine base technology, the value of digital information, and how businesses and society might evolve.


Mark Beaulieu is the head of Digital Lantern which researches and produces innovative products for the new digital media consumer. Current company research covers advanced database design, electronic mapping and mobile communication technology, prototypes of personalized information, and experimentation with the utility of digital media. He has most recently completed co-authoring Demystifying Multimedia with Chris Okon and vivid publishing for Apple Computer. Previously he was product manager and senior software engineer for Metaphor Computer Systems, and has worked for ten years as a programmer and interface designer in Irvine and Silicon Valley.


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