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TMchartis - a Tool Set for Designing Multiple Visualizations for Topic Maps
The most common approach for Topic Map visualization is a topic centered one. The associated nodes are displayed in graph network. For every topic a new graph has to be generated which leads to a constantly changing visualization. This is quite confusing for the user and does not support the creation of a mental model of the information structure. Furthermore, based on the individual needs of the users different structural concepts like a hierarchical tree, a list, a network or a combination of these can be appropriate. The design decision for the visualization should not only depend on the modeled information. First of all it shall support the focused task, e. g. providing an overview, explaining the knowledge structure or showing detailed information on a field of interests. Instead of more and more sophisticated graph algorithms only a combination of automated layout and intellectual design can provide the user with helpful visualization of the modeled knowledge domain. TMchartis addresses these problems by providing an easy-to-use tool set for creating multiple problem-oriented views on Topic Maps. TMchartis consists of a stand-alone java application, enabling experts to align and customize each individual topic and association on a two dimension drawing map. Similar to Google Maps users can freely navigate on the map, zoom and search for topic nodes. The multiple visualizations of a topic map can be integrated in web pages as Java applet. By providing problem-oriented views, Topic Maps visualizations can develop from a nice-to-have feature to a real aid for navigation and retrieval.