It began with POPOS

Atlasphere Tour: How It Began

It Started With POPOS

I once read about San Francisco's privately owned public open spaces, or POPOS, and thought a great way of getting out of my office would be to document POPOS as I visited them, and then show my write-ups and pictures on a map. It would be an exercise in right/left brain creativity, and I wanted an app vehicle for putting Component Kitchen's Elix web components to use. Atlasphere started as a Google Map surface for my little static website project. But then I started noticing patterns.

The public open space atop the Salesforce Transit Center

The map view you just saw before viewing this post was different from the default Alasphere map view. This one contains only markers for POPOS. Content, some of which may or may not have been part of the default view, can be filtered to intent. In this case, the view shows only eleven markers across the entire globe (not including this Atlasphere Tour marker).

It was the notion that showing POPOS in their entirety, obviously, is just one use of the map canvas. I might want to show other things. And, no kidding, other people might want to document their visits. Also, pictures and text are representative of the general notion of associating content with place. And not just place, but also time. And context that derives from combinations of place, time, and content.

Rather than conceiving of a complicated query system, I thought what if I could just tag my markers the way I wanted to. Then I could specify which tagged items I wanted to display, with the option of fetching markers that each have all the requested tags, or any of the requested tags. That alone would be a pretty flexible system for creating view.

For example, here is a view (it will appear in a separate browser tab) of POPOS situated only on California Street. This asks to show markers that each have both the POPOS tag and the California Street tag. You can see when it comes up in the separate tab that the number of markers drop from 11 to 5.

It turns out that with the introduction of user accounts, this tag specification system works very well. Each user can strategically define their own namespace of tags. As long as markers are fetched by tags, with the additional constraint that the marker's author/user is specified, then those tags have meaning specific to the author. I'll have more to say about that when I talk about Atlasphere's search mechanism.


Let's look more at collections of markers, and social media hooks to highlight them. (Link TBD)


Atlasphere Tour - Introduction