Model Based Information Navigation

Our industrial partners on the project, The Airbus Group’s Knowledge Management team, tasked us with improving access to information and knowledge discovery through new and innovative methods. Our response was Model-Based Information Navigation. A means of navigating document collections via a web-based, three-dimensional representation of the product structure. An system to enable information finding through an intuitive user interface that is tailored to engines.

Engineers tend to think visually and functionally and yet the normal means of finding information in document collections is via a text-based search engine. Something that is not necessarily intuitive. Building on the research fields of Model-Based Definition, Machine Learning and Search Engines, Model-Based Information Navigation places a three-dimensional representation of the product on top of the search engine and provides a range of techniques to navigate the model space to find information. Generating a search engine tailored to the visual and functional nature of engineers.

The system breaks down into three components, how documents are indexed against the product structure, how information is displayed within the three-dimensional virtual environment and how engineer navigate the virtual environment to find information. The project addressed each of these in turn before determining the affordances of such an approach to finding information. Publications related to the project can be found here . The video below shows a brief overview of the system.

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