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Wikiphilia - An Explorative 360° Fulldome Installation

Wikiphilia - An Explorative 360° Fulldome Installation

Wikiphilia is a 360° projection exploring the Wikipedia structure in visual and interactive way. The result is an expert tool for Wikipedia adherents to see the relevance of linked articles to a chosen person in an entertaining system. The used location for the Wikiphilia project was the planetarium Urania in Potsdam (Germany).

Idea, design and elaboration was realized by Dimitar Ruszev and Pierre La Baume.

Wikipedia - Our Basis.

The worlds most famous free encyclopedia has an enormous amount of nearly 3.9 million articles on more than 27 million pages where each user is able to share his or her knowledge. Hence it contains millions of pages with links from one (article of a) person to another person, from a building to a country or from a highly abstract term to the person who created it and often from an article to the category that encloses it. To sum it up Wikipedia implies a massive complex hypertext-structure with millions of links, back links and category links that users employ on a daily basis without realizing it.

The Approach

In our project we analyzed this complex construction of links and we were interested if it is possible to figure out the significance of other articles which are related to a definite person. At the beginning we set a person (e.g. »Coby Miller«) and started to enquire the outgoing links. In a second step we checked all hyperlinks coming from other articles or categories to our selected person. These two conglomerations of links were our basic to examine the importance of each related article.

The Result

After the inspection we ranked all these articles and organized them in a network which we projected in the planetarium. In the center of our 360° projection we placed our selected person. As a result of the masses of connections between the chosen person to other articles we decided to organize this mashup according to the importance of the linked articles and give the user the opportunity to fly through this world of wikipedia links. To make it visible how many links were related on the first, second or third hierarchical layer we added icons to show these numbers. As a reason for the great chance to have a planetarium, which is like a a great immersive cinema space we »pimped it up« and designed some transitions and effects to entertain the audience.





The Interaction


It is not as simple as it seems to navigate through a digital 360° surrounding. There is no right or left, no up or down like on ordinary flat monitor what makes it hard to control objects or the space with a common computer mouse. For that reason we decided to give it a try and used alternative controller like joysticks or tablets (e.g. the iPad). What works best for us and the exploration of our link world was the 3d space navigator which has several axis and consequently several dimensions to move. This extended the Wikiphilia projection in an interactive full dome installation.


Wikiphilia was generated during the summer semester 2011 in the class »Immersive Data Visualization« at the University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam under the supervision of Prof. Boris Müller.



Art des Projekts

Studienarbeit im zweiten Studienabschnitt


foto: Prof. Boris Müller


Sommersemester 2011