Case Viewer

The main case viewer provides search capabilities, a detail view of the currently selected event or concept, and thumbnail overviews of other tools. The case viewer is the main interface to TekMap, as shown in the following figure:

TekMap Case Viewer


The case details panel presents the detailed information about the currently selected case. Depending on the type of event or concept, this will include the year of the innovation, the agents (people, organization, or nation), the type of event, the concept or innovation to which it applies, the type of concept, a schematized indication of the function, problem, and strategy, operating principle (if any), the field of research, and the citation for the source of the facts. Internally, there is additional information which could be presented, such as patent numbers (when available). Within this panel, some of the fields are clicable, such as function, problem, and source. These bring up editor panels which allow modifying and extending the database contents.

The description panel presents a textual description of the concept.

The similar cases panel provides an alphabetized list of other cases that can be selected by double clicking. When TekMap is first launched, you must choose from this list in order to select the initial case to view.

The thumbnail timeline at the top right presents a small overview of the ontology. This is just a viewport on the full-screen timeline. When a case is selected in the case viewer, the small timeline scrolls to the designated year and a pair of cross-hairs is overlaid to show the current case in its historical context. The timeline can be used to navigate by clicking on individual entries.

The thumbnail grapher at the bottom right displays the current case as it relates to prior (or later) cases. This view is also a viewport on the larger-version precondition grapher. This graph is dynamically generated and can be used to navigate by clicking on a node. The radio buttons at the bottom flip the graph from displaying the preconditions to the postconditions, or later events that depended on the current case.


Of course, there are approximately two thousand events in the current ontology, and if you are not familiar with how they are named, it can be tedious to find a specific entry. Filters provide a way to prune this list. The filters are simple conjunctive criteria that constrain the size of the list. The filters that are currently implemented include:

When you apply a filter, the similar cases list shrinks to include only those entries that meet the filter. You will also notice that the thumbnail timeline view grays out all the events that do not meet the filter criteria.