I.6 Ph.D. Thesis Map

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Keith V. Nesbitt

Computer scientist Keith V. Nesbitt’s hand-drawn map, which was inspired by the Sydney metro map, shows interconnecting ideas running through his Ph.D. thesis. Nesbitt’s thesis concerns the design of multisensory displays of abstract data with the motivation of mining this data. On the map, each separate “track of abstract thought” in the thesis is represented by a different color. Related ideas correspond to category stations along that track. Overlapping ideas are shown as connected stations. The familiarity of metro maps makes the diagram easy for readers to interpret. As the space in which the tracks are laid is invariant to rotation and mirroring, it is possible to read the map in any direction. However, there is a cultural bias for the tracks to be followed from left to right and top to bottom.


Nesbitt, Keith V. 2004. “Getting to More Abstract Places Using the Metro Map Metaphor.” In Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Information Visualization, 488-493. Washington: IEEE Computer Society.

Nesbitt, Keith V. 2003. “Multi-Sensory Display of Abstract Data.” PhD diss., University of Sydney.

Nesbitt, Keith V. 2004. PhD Thesis Map. Courtesy of IEEE and Keith V. Nesbitt, Charles Sturt University, Australia, ©2004 by IEEE. In “1st Iteration (2005): The Power of Maps,” Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, edited by Katy Börner and
Deborah MacPherson. http://scimaps.org.

Acknowledgements: This exhibit is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0238261, CHE-0524661, IIS-0534909 and IIS-0715303, the James S. McDonnell Foundation; Thomson Reuters; the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, University Information Technology Services, and the School of Library and Information Science, all three at Indiana University. Some of the data used to generate the science maps is from the Web of Science by Thomson Reuters and Scopus by Elsevier. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.