Till Nagel

Venice Unfolding

by Till Nagel.

Date: Sep 2009 – Sep 2010

Project lead
Till Nagel
Frank Heidmann
Massimiliano Condotta

Jula Lakritz
Nadine Patzig
Stefan Rechsteiner
Sabine Richter
Martin Schissler
Sebastian Schwinkendorf
Stephan Thiel

Venice Unfolding is a tangible geo-visualization on an interactive tabletop to enable the exploration of architectural projects in Venice.

The tangible user interface consists of a large display showing projects on a map, and a polyhedral object to browse these data interactively by selecting and filtering various metadata facets. The object reduces the barrier between the physical world and virtual data, and eases the understanding of faceted geographical data, enabling urban planners and citizens alike to participate in the discovery and analysis of information referring to the physical world.

This project was a collaboration of the Interaction Design Lab with the architectural faculty of the IUAV University of Venice, and the City of Venice, Urban Department. Find more information at the project page.


The polyhedral object can be placed anywhere onto the table’s interactive surface to begin with one of two interactions: (1) Select criteria to filter and display specific projects, and (2) Browse background information of a single project.

When a user puts the object onto the tabletop, the facets are displayed, each represented as an unfolded face of the polyhedron (Figure 2 a). After the user tilts the object onto one of its sides, the entries of the chosen facet are displayed as a radial fisheye menu surrounding the object (Figure 2 b). The text items are alphabetically ordered and displayed as small ticks, thus visualizing the overall amount of items. By rotating the object the user can now browse through the terms. The user can choose a specific item by moving the object towards its text representation. After a user’s selection, the application filters the data set, and highlights matching projects on the map.

After the user selects a single project, the radial menu around the polyhedron changes to offer background information, such as “description”, “pictures”, and “relations”. By rotating the object inside the ring users can explore project information in detail: scrolling through the descriptive text, and browsing through explanatory pictures (Figure 2 c). Selection of the third category (“relations”) activates the project’s conceptual network with other projects (Figure 1).


Nagel, T., Heidmann, F.: Exploring faceted geospatial data with tangible interaction. GeoViz 2011, March 10–11, 2011, Hamburg, Germany (paper, presentation)

Condotta, M., Nagel, T., Stefanelli, C.: Browsing and Correlating Architectural and Territorial Data in Tangible Maps: New Knowledge Opportunities in New Learning Places. IxD&A (Interaction Design and Architecture) Journal. Special Issue on Design Centered and Personalized Learning in Liquid and Ubiquitous Learning Places, N. 9-10, 2011, pp. 49-62

Nagel, T., Heidmann, T., Condotta, M. and Duval, E.: Venice Unfolding: A Tangible User Interface for Exploring Faceted Data in a Geographical Context. In Proceedings of the 6th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (NordiCHI 2010), October 16–20, 2010, Reykjavik, Iceland. (paper, presentation)

Condotta, M., Nagel, T., Heidmann, F.: Browsing and correlation of territorial data in tangible maps – a Venice case study. INPUT 2010, UniBas, Potenza, Italy (paper)

One comment on ‘Venice Unfolding’

  1. [...] und Sehenswürdigkeiten besonders stark frequentiert sind.” Weiteren Projekte waren Venice unfolding und Liquidata. Einen Schritt weiter in Bezug auf Visualisierung, aber der Auswertung und Analyse [...]

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