Controversy Space Explorer

The Controversy Space Explorer is an interactive and dynamic interface dedicated to the exploration of controversiesí life in time, scale and space.

Classified under Users (Academics, Issue professionals, Decision-makers), Visualizations (Dynamic map), Data Management (Tagging/coding), Conceptual (Controversy spaces)

The Controversy Space Explorer is a prototype for an interactive and dynamic interface dedicated to the exploration of controversies’ life in time, scale and space. It provides the user with an intuitive web tool to support data exploration and information retrieval. The main idea for this exploration is the use of the event as the central unit of data and the other associated dimensions. A case study focusing on the social perception of flood risks by various actors is given to illustrate each component of the Controversy Space Explorer.



The main dimensions presented by the interface are the time, the geographical space and the scale. Those dimensions are detailed hereafter. Any of the dimensions might be absent or not applicable to some events. Therefore, the dimensions are seen as optional by the tool.

The time dimension allows the user to locate each event in time. This “location in time” can take two different shapes being a point in time represented by a date or a line in time represented by a period (starting and ending dates).

The scale dimension allows the user to define the influence radius of each event. This dimension complements the space dimension to give a better view of the real sphere of influence of geographically small events.

The space dimension allows the user to locate each event in the geographical space. This “location in space” can take various shapes being a point in space (a couple of x and y coordinates), a line in space (an open set of coordinates), an area (a closed set of coordinates) or a place (a place poorly identified and only located by its centre).


The event corresponds to the central unit of data in the Controversy Space Explorer. An event is mainly constituted by a name or title and a textual description. This event is located in each of the controversy dimensions (time, scale and space). Each event is associated to an actor, a group of actors, and may be linked to other events.

Any event can be explored just by putting the mouse over its representation in time, scale or space to retrieve a short description of it...
or clicked to retrieve its full description.



The actors are seen as “owners” of the events being human or non human. Each actor can belong to a group of actors. The users are provided with this hierarchy in order to easily group and classify events. This does not mean that there is any intrinsic hierarchy of value between the actors or the arguments.


The full set of variables associated to each actor is composed of a short name by actor, its description and the group it belongs to.

The full set of variables associated to each group of actors is just composed short name and its description.


Each representation of actors’ and groups’ events in a given dimension (time, scale and space) is dynamically linked to the others. This dynamic link between the different representations, also called brushing, ensures the system is maintaining consistent views of the data. It also echoes the user interaction with the needed changes in the data representations.

Various elements of the exploration interface provide the user with interactivity in order to modify its point of view of the data, ask for more details, compare data, etc. The first kind of interaction is the change of the dimension window used to focus on the data.

Coupling dynamic link between the various representation and high level of interactivity offers the end-user with an enhanced exploration tool. It simplify the access to information not distorting the richness and value of its content.


The timeline allows the user to navigate in Time moving and resizing the time window (slider). To move the slider the user can click on it and drag it left and right along the timeline. To resize the time window click on the right or left side of it and drag it.





The space representation gives a two dimension view of the position of the events in the geographical (or non geographical) space.
This representation can be explored using the sliders to move and resize the space window (light blue square). The space and time window sliders are similarly used. The map point of view can also be changed directly by dragging the space window over the map. The user can switch from the representation of the whole area to the one of the space window using the double-squared icon located at the upper right corner of the space tool.


Related items from Macospol

Food Supplement Case Study
Controversy Space Exploration of the Food Supplement Case Study
Lully Flooding Case Study
Controversy Space Exploration of the Lully Flooding Case Study

Attachments of PlatformInteractiveAtlas

I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment Attribute
CSExplorer_small.pngpng CSExplorer_small.png manage 113.5 K 18 Sep 2009 - 13:59 Abram Pointet Main Interface of the Controversy Space Explorer h
event.pngpng event.png manage 10.8 K 18 Sep 2009 - 14:41 Abram Pointet Controversy element in space  
event_long.pngpng event_long.png manage 52.6 K 18 Sep 2009 - 15:39 Abram Pointet event long description  
event_short.pngpng event_short.png manage 3.0 K 18 Sep 2009 - 15:38 Abram Pointet event short description  
groups_actors.pngpng groups_actors.png manage 13.1 K 20 Oct 2009 - 12:40 Abram Pointet Groups and actors  
scales.pngpng scales.png manage 9.0 K 18 Sep 2009 - 18:47 Abram Pointet Scale representation  
space.pngpng space.png manage 257.1 K 18 Sep 2009 - 15:41 Abram Pointet Space representation with its draggable and resizable space window  
space_navigation.pngpng space_navigation.png manage 8.0 K 18 Sep 2009 - 15:42 Abram Pointet Slider to move and resize the space window  
space_zoom.pngpng space_zoom.png manage 16.9 K 18 Sep 2009 - 15:43 Abram Pointet Switch to the space window  
timeline.pngpng timeline.png manage 4.4 K 18 Sep 2009 - 15:18 Abram Pointet Timeline and its draggable / resizable time window