Graduate Project: Collaborative Mapping Space
Below is the Collaborative Mapping Space that was submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Graphic Design (MGD) degree from North Carolina State University. The project is an investigation into the design of a software system to support and enhance collaboration. The following is the paper’s abstract:
How can the design of a physical/virtual space facilitate and enhance collaboration between students and industry in an educational environment?
Currently there is a great need for student-industry collaboration to address the widening gap between design education programs and the nature of contemporary professional design practice. This gap exists because contemporary design problems rapidly change and are increasingly complex.
To address these problems, this project proposes a collaborative suite of tools, known as the “Collaborative Mapping System.” The system’s aim is to support and enhance student-industry collaboration by improving on the quality of virtual communication and collective intelligence through concept mapping, facilitating the separate phases of the collaborative process, and aiding group communication, memory, and thought.
In designing a tool set to support and enhance student-industry collaboration, this project looks to contemporary theories of collective intelligence, activity theory, and meeting facilitation. This project then uses that information to create collaborative spaces that facilitate communication between distant collaborators and provides a space for collaborators to act upon and share materials. The space is designed so that participants can interact with virtual materials through gestures and behaviors used to interact with physical materials. The design additionally allows for more fluid communications and collaborations among distant collaborators by projecting video feeds of the distant collaborators into the same space as the face-to-face collaborators and allowing the distant collaborators to interact with the virtual materials as if all the collaborators were in the same physical space.