Semantic Zoom

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Semantic Zoom A non-graphical zoom called semantic zoom is a mechanism to do the view transformation from any view formats to the underlying meaning inside the target object. Normally this mechanism reaches into the derived data contained in the data table stage.
[Nata AIT, 2006]

In contrast to ordinary graphical zoom, semantic zoom does not only change parameters of a graphical representation, but modifies the selection and structure of data to be displayed.
With a conventional geometric zoom all objects change only their size; with semantic zoom they can additionally change shape, details (not merely size of existing details) or, indeed, their very presence in the display, with objects appearing/disappearing according to the context of the map at hand.
[Boulos, 2003]

Semantic zoom is a form of details on demand that lets the user see different amounts of detail in a view by zooming in and out.
[Weaver, 2004]

Geometric (standard) zooming: The view depends on the physical properties of what is being viewed.
Semantic zooming: Different representations for different spatial scales. When zooming away, instead of seeing a scaled down version of an object, see a different representation. The representation shown depends on the meaning to be imparted.

Example: Information Maps: See a city – zoom into restaurant and see what is served there – maybe zoom based on price instead (see expensive restaurants first, keep zooming till you get to your price range).
[Watson, 2004]

Another graphical technique to balance detail and context is known as semantic zooming or multi-scale interfaces. A physical zoom, on the one hand, changes the size and visible detail of ob jects. A semantic zoom, in the other hand, changes the type and meaning of information displayed by the ob ject. Semantic zooming avoids the physical distortions of fisheye views, by using a semantic transition between detailed and general views of information.
[Modjeska, 1997]

In semantic zooming, ob jects change appearance or shape as they change size. For example a growing dot will become a simple box, then a box with a one-word label, then a box with a longer label, then a rectangle filled with text and pictures. The goal is to give the most meaningful presentation at each size.
[UMDL, 1996]


Working on the intrinsic structure of data and incorporating knowledge about its meaning (Meta data), semantic zoom adjusts the contents and density of information that is shown instead of only changing visual detail and scale.

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