2008 Year End Report

To the Accuracy&Aesthetics Board of Directors: Bonnie DeVarco, Marek Walczak, Ken Petersen, Ken Fields, Kevin Kearns, John Giunta, Vera de Spinadel

From: Projects Director, Deborah MacPherson

CC: Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, Arshia (Baig) Alam, Katy Borner Curator Places & Spaces, Open Floor Plan Display and Building Service Performance collaborators and supporters.


2008 was a year of many changes and a lot of progress, especially the end of the year.


Please send updates about projects you are working on, see MEETINGS below for projects I was able to learn about over the year.

Most Recent: Focusing on standards and BIM, GIS convergence. Learning Vectorworks. Interested in Mathematica original version.

Context Driven Topologies
Context Driven Topologies is an open source system for drawing the geometry of knowledge changing over time using fixed and fluid data structures to exchange ideas and information to and from specific places, places may be physical such as buildings and rooms or virtual such as knowledge domains and areas of expertise. Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner provided pro-bono legal services to communicate with the US Patent and Trademark Office about the 2004 application. Finnegan is obviously committed to Pro Bono service and fully dedicated all of their special skills, expertise and quality control processes to help move the application forward. This involved a lot of reading, clean up, translating the claims into a new language, and dealing with historical records that needed to be put in order. This work was facilitated by the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts [WALA]. We spent many hours on the phone, searching the past, trading documents back and forth, and generally getting the application into better form. The application is in a time warp, no words can be changed and the content cannot be compared to new ideas by myself or anyone else since the important date March 18, 2004. As noted in previous communications, the application has been assigned to Accuracy&Aesthetics and given a new number. Select documents from the lawyers office are below in PDF.

All of the documentation since 2004 is available on the USPTO website. Start clicking on “Patents” in the left menu. Then “View in Pair”. Then scroll far down the page to “Public Pair”. Type in the random 2 words. Continue. Search by application number, the new number is 12/146821, the original was 10/803040. There is a connection from one to the next in the “Continuity Data” tab. The USPTO office has acknowledged receipt but are so backlogged the substantially cleaner application will not be examined for 37 months.

To thank Finnegan for their 100 percent dedicated effort, I sent the picture above drawn by my husband Bruce MacPherson, along with a letter on behalf of Accuracy&Aesthetics in a gigantic basket of holiday treats.  We will talk again in 3 years I suppose. Because explaining or protecting a new idea is not an easy or pleasant process, occasionally I have wondered – why not just drop this and spend more time in working in the garden, doing yoga, shopping? The answer is because it is so simple it will work, and could truly benefit people by improving public information capture and delivery.

That important date is the reason the Accuracy&Aesthetics board is what it is. Our paths were crossing in meaningful ways in 2004 and before. You were each the best examples of different facets that need to come together for this invention to work.  I believe the way to introduce this system of knowledge and display patterns into the open world, which is its purpose, is the project described in Figure 6. But that is just one way of looking at it, the more people thinking about this together, the better the end results will be.

Some time over the next 3 years, progress may be made using Building Information Modeling [BIM] to demonstrate practical aspects of the 2004 specifications. Progress could be made as shown in the triangle below, presented to Cannon Design where I now work.  Accuracy&Aesthetics and open exchange is the cherry on top.  If progress is made, it probably would make sense to invite someone from Cannon and perhaps the working groups I serve on now to bring these processes into the open for anyone to use, some ideas are below. Any feedback or comments are most welcome and would love to talk about as a group sometime in the next couple months. Please advise your schedule and availability.

National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST)
White Paper: Improving Open Information Capture and Delivery Services, Connecting the Real World with the Digital World at Critical Points.  Written September 30 to October 30 for the NIST National Institute of Standards and Technology Technology Innovation Program (TIP), Areas of Critical National Need. 
Letter from NIST Program Director (click on thumbnail)

Open Floor Plan Display
Because of a NIST workshop in October, a small think tank to make sense of building data called Building Service Performance Project (BSP) teamed up with San Francisco Communications MapLab to develop a format to exchange 2D drawings and universal symbols using open standards. Because buildings are getting so smart, the NIST Building Fire Research Laboratory [NIST BFRL] envisions a Next Generation 9-1-1 public safety service where, for example, instead of people calling on the phone when a fire is observed, fire alarms and temperature sensors in buildings could show the fire department where the problems are located in a building on their way over.  Several municipalities, for example New York City, have recently enacted new laws requiring building Owners to submit digitally readable exit plans, locations of hazardous materials and so on. Today, most fire departments have computers in their vehicles but there is no shared, lightweight system to exchange basic information about a building’s layout and functions.  Some parts of this system are already in place and enforced, but there is no standard form of communication for any building owner to provide basic plans or communicate with any public safety network.  Its important to note this project team clearly distinguishes between “safety” and “security” this is a public safety project. Only reality is documented, there is no judgment on whether the building configuration is the best arrangement of spaces or different materials should have been used, this project is limited to documenting, exchanging, and displaying features important to the fire department and useful to police.  It is a short list even for the most complex buildings. Some links are below, people are getting interested in this work. Bob Smith at BSP, David Coggeshall at MapLab and I recently have been talking with leaders of the building SMART alliance about making this a buildingSMART alliance (bSa) project, a few case studies and more planning is underway. Just yesterday learned of some interesting work by the Open Geospatial Consortium that could dovetail nicely with current efforts.
14 page statement with letters of support from Deke Smith Executive Director of the building SMART alliance, and Alan Vinh Computer Integrated Building Processes Group at the NIST Building Fire Research Lab ofpd_prospectus
, Video 1, Video 2 by David Coggeshall at SFMapLab
Start of a semantic wiki Floorplan Markup Language at BSP, floor plan elements are listed in Static Data


Building Owners could do a lot with these drawings. The proposed system is based on open standards such as Scalable Vector Graphics [SVGtiny], JavaScript, AJAX which means you could receive on any kind of device such as cell phones. This would also be perfect for museums, hospitals and other public buildings to use either on the web or at the site to know where you are in a building and where things are. You may recall a couple years ago the National Science Foundation (NSF) granted permission to use their Building Information Model (BIM), some time this year will re-request the NSF BIM to compare the layout of these physical spaces with the maps of science. If this project gets the right backing, ideas for A&A collaboration are:
Kevin – do Science World British Columbia, work with a local architect and the fire department to show exhibit space vs storage space vs back of house vs office space. Think of ways museum visitors could use to navigate the museum and ways to depict dynamic content and themes using colors and symbols.
Marek – maybe you and collaborators can make something interactive with this data to experience in person in specific places or virtually in any place. Everyone please see apartment and Noplace. There could also be possabilities for rapid prototyping and literally handing out map/layout/sculptures.
Vera – Once we know how to document a campus, it would be beneficial to go a step further to look at these drawings and semantic relationships in terms of their mathematics and design. Another benefit is the instructions would be translated into Spanish.
Ken F – Same as Vera with a campus, but focusing on music exchange, remote collaboration, and acoustical performance of different spaces. If both campuses could be done, the instructions would also be translated into Chinese.
John – It would be great to take community center floorplans, already available on the Internet, and show where classrooms are. John also had some ideas about students comparing class locations to their locations and the types of classes, instructors providing feedback to community centers about rooms such as “its too hot” “we need more space” to ensure the rooms are comfortable, suitable learning environments
Ken P – Massively extending the idea of virtual classrooms, learning, translation, the ability to ask questions and get part of an answer wrong, and improvements in semantic simplicity and functionality.
Bonnie – As stated on Twine – as a writer, researcher, archivist, futurist and curator for the mirror worlds of Cyberspace and Earth, Exploring the emergence of Visualization Convergence for Connective Intelligence. Collaboration with Katy Borner and Places & Spaces Mapping Science, and building bridges from BIM to the Geographic Information Systems [GIS] community.


It would be wonderful to receive funding to have a face-to-face meeting some day.  Between now and then, several of us are on Facebook, Twine, and LinkedIn and other networks.  Accuracy&Aesthetics is a Creative Commons / Facebook Cause, please point people there. $50 would pay for a Go-To-Meeting. Its getting rarer to meet in person.  Nevertheless, I was able to meet with several directors individually over the year. Going backwards from a couple weeks ago:

John – We met in Vienna VA 2 days in a row. Its always inspiring to talk with John. Among the many interesting things we talked about was an instrument called the Theremin and another an invention by Leon Theremin, prototyped but never fully developed called Terpsitone “consisting of a platform fitted with space-controlling antennae, through and around which a dancer would control the musical performance.”

Theremin “Terpsitone” A New Electronic Novelty

It would be fun to get something like this to actually work, recording movements in a space to control the output of music or other information. John and I also discussed the Open Floor Plan Display Project (see above) and kids creating a menu of shapes, for example his daughter draws up funny buildings like the apple house.

Marek – We met in New York City a few weeks ago when I was there to give a presentation to the NYC buildingSMART alliance. Marek is always working on cool projects, currently focusing on interactive public art. He described a new Dialog Table for the University of Michican Museum of Art the shape is an oval, the edge is surrounded by “grass” each blade represents an art work. The blades are organized by time and tend to clump together in some locations, visitors put their hand over an area and the grass expands so you can see each one, similar to a Mac dock.

Dialog Table at the Walker Art Center

Visitors can pluck out pieces of interest and place them in a pool. Underlying relationships between pieces in a pool will cause suggested pieces to pop up. Once the visitor is satisfied with the group, they can email it to themselves and post however they like. The table can also be used to show where pieces are located in the building. I am very grateful to Marek for the design of this website. I recently upgraded wordpress and laughing squid (the host) switched servers, we both breathed a collective sigh of relief that everything seems to be working fine.

Bonnie – Please see Scale Independent Thought/ Visual Language. During the fall we were involved in discussions with the Places & Spaces Advisory Board about the 5th iteration, Scienc Maps for Policy Makers, refer to this page for entries and discussion.  We also met in New York City in June while Bonnie was overseeing the installation of Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe at the Whitney Museum. A couple pictures are below, walking off the elevator into this grid was stunning.  Bonnie gave me a personally guided tour which I will never forget. Bucky was a genius with shapes and geometry, not to mention being ahead of the curve on sustainable design.

Buckminster Fuller, 4D Tower: Time Interval, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.

Kevin – We met in DC for dinner at my new favorite restaurant Bistrot du Coin when he was here for a visit from Vancouver. Great conversation and a fabulous meal. Kevin explained some projects at Science World British Columbia where he is vice president. They have lots of interesting exhibits coming and going and the museum science board and Canadian government agencies he works with all sound terrific.  Kevin has lots of ideas to improve visitor experiences. One exhibit being developed to display outside, he wanted visitors to physically feel bounced around to learn. He challenges his designers to use visual cues, colors, and groups of things in better ways. My new job Cannon Design has an office in Vancouver and I hope to get out there to visit some time.

Ken Petersen – I see Ken pretty regularly, we have a lot of friends in common. Ken is finishing up his dissertation and his whole life will change after that. He speaks at conferences and people come up to him after to say “Thank You! Thank you for doing this research!”. It would be best for Ken to explain what his work is about but in general, semantics are used to ask questions and teach languages online. He believes in visual communication and my husband Bruce provided several drawings to use as examples. Checking to see if an online demo is available.

Vera – Vera works in mathematics and design and organizes an annual conference for the International Mathematics and Design Association. it would be great to present some of the threads we have in common to the mathematics and design community. The next conference is June 7 to 11, 2010 in Buenos Aires. What an opportunity that would be and will work towards that as much as possible. The image above is by Vera from the ICM 2006 Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest.

Ken Fields – We continue to cross paths in the ontolog community now and then. Ken also started a few organizations such as the Digital Arts Ontology DAO, the daohaus community, develops tools for remote music composition collaboration and more. Ken is interested in literally the form of information, one of my favorite images of all time is this one where he overlays an ontology structure onto a subway station.


Bought a Macbook Pro for $3000 and have been given Vectorworks and Onuma Planning System licenses. If anyone is interested in using BIM, drawing or modeling programs, can request additional licenses. If Phase 0 funding is received by OFPD project, request permission to pay off this computer and use the remainder for GoToMeetings.

Would like to update the people page with additional organizations, network profiles, links to projects.

Will file taxes, Virginia corporation report, and similar annual documentation by the end of March.

The Guidestar profile has also been updated here http://www.guidestar.org/pqShowGsReport.do?partner=guidestar&npoId=100281909 or go to guidestar and search for EIN 41-2132868.


Thank you for reading this and your many different efforts toward better public information exchange. Especially if we are unable to meet in person any time soon, hopefully due to convergence and common interests we could get to know more about each other’s current work. Thank you for serving on the Accuracy&Aesthetics Board of Directors.


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